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“Red line” in the case of Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hang

Sunday, March 27, 2022 13:00 PM (GMT+7)

The fact that the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department prosecuted and detained Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hang was predicted in advance and supported by the public.

It is worth mentioning that the same livestream with her also has some “guests” who are people with legal knowledge such as law doctors, lawyers …. These people have words and actions to support Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hang (General Director of Dai Nam Joint Stock Company) in swearing at others.

Understanding “Freedom of Speech”

There is an opinion that speaking on social networking platforms is a “freedom of speech” allowed by law, anyone who disagrees with Ms. Hang’s statement has the right to go online to protest.

Do they understand that “freedom of speech” right? What is the current law on “freedom of speech”?

Article 25 of the 2013 Constitution states: “Citizens have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, access to information, assembly, association, and demonstration. The exercise of these rights is prescribed by law.”

Along with that, Clause 4, Article 15 of the 2013 Constitution provides: “The exercise of human rights and citizens’ rights must not infringe upon the national interests, the nation, and the legitimate rights and interests of others”.

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Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hang

Articles 20 and 21 of the 2013 Constitution also clearly stipulates the inviolability of health, honor, dignity, privacy, personal secrets and family secrets; the right to protect the honor and reputation of individuals. Information about private life, personal secrets, family secrets are guaranteed by law to be safe.

The Civil Code 2015 stipulates the basic principles of civil law: The establishment, exercise, and termination of civil rights and obligations must not infringe upon the national interests, the nation, the public interest, and the lawful rights and interests of others. (Clause 4, Article 3).

Article 10 of the Civil Code provides for limitations on the exercise of civil rights as follows: “1. Individuals and legal entities must not abuse their civil rights to cause damage to other people, to violate their obligations or to perform other illegal purposes. If they fail to comply with the provisions of Clause 1 of this Article, the Court or other competent authority, based on the nature and consequences of the violation, may fail to protect part or all of their rights, compel compensation. normally if it causes damage, and other sanctions may be imposed as may be prescribed by law”.

Along with these two laws are the laws regulating “the right of the individual to the image” (article 32); “right to honor, reputation and dignity protected (article 34); “right to private life, personal secrets, family secrets”. Any organization or individual that infringes on the moral rights of others will be sanctioned, according to different forms specified in Articles 11 to 14 of the 2015 Civil Code.

Point d, Clause 1, Article 9 of the 2018 Law on Cybersecurity provides for prohibited acts, in Article 9 it is shown: “False information causes confusion among the people, causes damage to socio-economic activities, causes difficulties for the operation of state agencies or official duty performers, infringes upon the legitimate rights and interests of the people.” laws of other agencies, organizations and individuals”.

Code of Conduct on social networks issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications together with Decision 874/QD-BTTTT dated June 17, 2021, at rule 3.1 “1. Rules of respecting and complying with the law: Complying with Vietnamese law, respecting the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals.” Rule 4.6: “6. Do not post content that violates the law, information that is offensive to honor and dignity affecting the legitimate rights and interests of other organizations and individuals; use language objectionable, violating fine customs and traditions; spreading fake news and untruthful news; advertising, trading in illegal services… causing irritation in public opinion, affecting social order and safety. .

With these regulations, it has been shown that: Citizens have the right to freedom of speech, but they do not have to say whatever they want. Speaking, especially on social networking platforms, must be accurate, grounded and must not take advantage of the speech to offend others, give false information, falsely accuse others, unfounded.

False statements, how to be handled?

Ms. Nguyen Phuong Hang’s case is not unique. Before that, there were many cases of posting false information on social networks, which were administratively or criminally handled. However, Ms. Hang’s story is famous because the incident has lasted from March 2021 until now, and her livestream also has the participation of a few people who are knowledgeable about the law and related statements. to many people from government officials to singers, journalists, other celebrities…

Hang’s use of social media platforms to convict some people is a serious violation of the law. Specifically, the 2013 Constitution, Clause 1, Article 102 of the Constitution: “The People’s Court is the judicial organ of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, exercising judicial power”. This provision is understood that in Vietnam, only the People’s Court has the right to adjudicate and exercise judicial power. Apart from the court, no organization or individual has the right to convict others.

Decree 72/2013/ND-CP dated July 15, 2013 (amended and supplemented by Decree 27/2018/ND-CP dated March 1, 2018) stipulating the management, provision and use of services Internet service and information on the network, in Clause 1, Article 5, prohibits acts, including: Taking advantage of the provision and use of Internet services and information on the network for the purpose of spreading information that distorts, slanders, insults the reputation of the organization, the honor and dignity of individuals..

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Ho Chi Minh City police searched the house of Mrs. Nguyen Phuong Hang

Article 101 of Decree 15/2020/ND-CP dated February 3, 2020 providing for administrative sanctions in the field of post and telecommunications…, for acts of taking advantage of social networks to provide, share Sharing fake information, untruthful information, distorting, slandering, insulting the reputation of agencies or organizations, honor and dignity of individuals, shall be subject to a fine of between VND 10 million and VND 20 million.

In case there is any act of disclosing other people’s private life secrets and other secrets that are not serious enough for criminal prosecution, a fine of between 20 million dong and 30 million dong shall be imposed. In addition to being fined, violators are also forced to remove false or misleading information or information that violates the law due to the above-mentioned violations.

If the act of reporting untruthful, distorting, slandering, offending the reputation of agencies or organizations, the honor and dignity of individuals, infringing upon the privacy of individuals’ private lives, causing serious consequences, such as: serious, can be criminally prosecuted.

Depending on the behavior and content of the violation, the person who commits the violation may be criminally handled for one of the crimes specified in the Penal Code 2015 (amended and supplemented 2017) such as: “The crime of humiliating others” (article 155); “Slander” (article 156); “Crime of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals” (article 331)…

Therefore, through Ms. Hang’s case, social media users must be alert and know the “red line” between freedom of expression and violations of the law. Don’t turn yourself from a social media user into a criminal.

At the same time, the competent authorities need to strictly handle those who participate in the livestream together with Ms. Hang in having words and acts that offend the honor and dignity, and infringe on the privacy of others.

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