Vietnamese American youth organizations host a roundtable on Internet Freedom in Vietnam

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June 20, 2023

Đồng Hành Network and Phan Bội Châu Youth Association organized a roundtable discussion on internet freedom in Vietnam to address the Vietnamese government’s attempt to control content on social media. The roundtable featured three guest speakers who shed light on the challenges faced by online activists in Vietnam and shared strategies for staying digitally secured.

Dr. Duyen Bui, a scholar in political science and a community organizer began the discussion by highlighting the growth of social media usage in Vietnam and how the Vietnamese government tries to restrict this by using a military cyber army that trolls users. Dr. Bui emphasized the importance of raising awareness about these government interventions and working with tech companies to combat content control as a means to protect internet freedom.

Then, human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai shared his personal experience as an activist from Vietnam. He recounted how the Vietnamese government forced him into exile in Germany in 2018, yet he still gets threats against his life and work from Vietnamese officials even while abroad. He explained how his Facebook and Youtube accounts had access interrupted due to state-sponsored coordinated efforts to report his posts, and how the Vietnamese government has urged the German government to prevent him from going online. The German government would not succumb to such requests. To overcome these pressures, Dai expresseed that having a strong support network allows him to sustain his advocacy for human rights.

Lastly, Raphael Mimoun, the founder of a digital security non-profit called Horizontal, presented simple tips to stay digitally secured. He encouraged attendees to use a password manager to keep track of their different accounts, consider privacy-focused browsers, and communicate using encrypted messaging apps. Mimoun emphasized that digital security is a process that requires a collective effort by others in your network and customized based on individual circumstances.

Held on May 20, 2023, the event invited high school and collegiate youths to learn about the current situation in Vietnam so they could engage in community-building efforts.

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Đồng Hành Network is a global collective of Vietnamese youth dedicated to developing leadership skills, preserving Vietnamese heritage, and contributing to movements for social change in Vietnam. Established as a program of Viet Tan, a pro-democracy organization in Vietnam, the network provides a platform for young individuals worldwide to come together, exchange ideas, and contribute to positive transformation.

Phan Bội Châu Youth Association is an organization in Orange County that aims to promote community service, culture, human rights, and democracy in Vietnam.

 

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