Livestreamer fined for deriding Vietnamese officials as bald, porn addicts

A video clip of Milona’s comments went viral, prompting an investigation.
By RFA Vietnamese
2022.09.06
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Livestreamer fined for deriding Vietnamese officials as bald, porn addicts League of Legends gamer Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan, also known as Milona, is seen in this screenshot from Facebook Video.
RFA

Authorities in Vietnam have fined an online gaming streamer for defaming unnamed government officials as “bald” and addicted to pornography, according to state media.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Loan, also known as Milona, was ordered to pay an administrative fine of 10 million Vietnamese dong (U.S. $425), reports said Tuesday, citing a statement from the Internal Security Office of the Thai Binh Provincial Police.

Milonia, a 26-year-old from An Vinh village in Thai Binh’s Quynh Phu district, made the comments as she livestreamed herself playing League of Legends on Facebook’s gaming platform at the end of August.

“People who often watch 18+ [adult] movies tend to be a little bald,” Milona said during the livestream, a video clip of which later went viral on social media. 

“Perhaps as they don’t do a damned thing but watch 18+ movies at home all day, state presidents all go bald,” she said. “Their f***king heads only have a few hairs left, right? Because they don’t do any f***king things but stay at home to watch 18+ movies.” 

Milona, who has more than 200,000 followers on Facebook and is a well-known streamer, did not mention specific heads of state or specific countries, but many Vietnamese Facebook users and state media suggested that she should be punished if she had referred to one of the country’s four top leaders.

But rights lawyers told RFA Vietnamese at the time that authorities were overreacting to her comments, which appeared to have been made in jest.

Expression restricted

Dominated for decades by the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, the Southeast Asian nation has little tolerance for dissent or statements that insult the country’s leaders.

Authorities in Binh Thuan province’s Phan Thiet City recently fined another Facebook user, known as N.T.N., 7.5 million Vietnamese dong (U.S. $320) for posting an altered image of Communist Party Politburo member and Permanent Member of the Secretariat Vo Van Thuong, saying the post had “humiliated [Thuong’s] honor and prestige.”

Freedom House, a U.S.-based non-governmental organization, ranked Vietnam as “not free” in its 2022 “Freedom in the World” report.

“Freedom of expression, religious freedom and civil society activism are tightly restricted,” the organization said in the report. “The authorities have increasingly cracked down on citizens’ use of social media and the internet to voice dissent and share uncensored information.”

A spokesman at Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs disagreed with the assessment, saying that Freedom House had given “biased assessment and prejudice, which are drawn on false information about Vietnam.”

Translated by Anna Vu. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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