Justice Ministry Affirms People’s Rights to Use Hidden Recording Devices

By Defend the Defenders, April 27, 2017

A draft decree prepared by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) does not ban people from recording or filming with hidden devices but deals with the sales of these devices, said the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

At a press conference in Hanoi on April 26, Le Dai Hai, deputy head of the Civil and Economic Law Department under the MOJ, said his department is assigned to give its opinions on the draft decree built by the MPS.

The draft decree aims to deal with the right to sell such kinds of devices but not about who can use them, he said, adding the draft decree came to the ministry for the third time.

Mr. Hai said the decree will explain the Investment Law and it will regulate who will be eligible for selling the devices only.

The decree does not regulate who will be eligible for using hidden devices for recording and filming and every resident can do those things which are not banned by the law, Hai was quoted as saying by the Voice of Vietnam radio.

The Ministry of Justice will prepare a report about the draft decree, seeing the decree as the tool to regulate the sale of hidden devices but not for their usage by people, particularly only the army and police are eligible to sell hidden devices for recording and filming, he concluded.

In the latest move, the Ministry of Public Security removed the controversial regulations on using hidden devices for recording and filming, announced Major General Tran The Quan, deputy head of the ministry’s Department of Legal and Administrative Reform.

Earlier this month, the draft decree became a hot topic in Vietnam as most of people interpret the decree that journalists and civilians cannot use filming equipment under the guise of tools such as pencils and lighters.

Many bloggers and citizen journalists, who provide the only independently reported information in Vietnam, where the media is controlled by the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, believe that the bill will prevent them from covering events and writing about abuses committed by authorities and infringements upon people’s rights.

Vietnam is listed by Reporters Without Borders as one of the biggest enemies of Internet. The Paris-based organization ranked the Communist nation 175th out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index.