Vietnamese online news outlet to go dark after government inspection report

Zing News will stop its service on Friday to address ‘shortcomings.’
By RFA Vietnamese
Vietnamese online news outlet to go dark after government inspection report Vietnam will suspend the online news site Zing News for three months starting Friday.
RFA screenshot

An online news site operated by a Vietnamese NGO will be suspended for three months as of Friday in accordance with a government decision as the publication focuses on “overcoming and thoroughly correcting shortcomings” to implement a government press directive.  

The Ministry of Information and Communications concluded in an inspection report that Zing News, also known as Zing News Online Knowledge magazine, had to stop its online service, though the publication did not cite a specific reason in a notice to its readers on Thursday.

The site, which covers economic, culture and political news in Vietnam, is run by the Vietnam Publishing Association, an entity that does not receive funding from the government or the Vietnamese Communist Party, but still must obey its orders. 

Zing’s announcement said it would focus on implementing a prime ministerial decision issued on April 3, 2019, for a master plan on press development and management nationwide through 2025. 

The government’s plan states that “the press is a means of information, a tool for propaganda, and a weapon” that is “important ideological fuel” for the party and the state. It also calls for continuous efforts to complete legislation for the government’s management and organization of the media and to eliminate the “overlapping situation” by reducing the number of newspapers.  

Though Zing did not state what the shortcomings are, it said it would continue to innovate content to ensure the implementation of the principles and purposes specified in its license and to promote an identity of “prestige information, impressive images” that better serves readers.

Vietnam ranks near the bottom of Reporters Without Borders’ 2023 Press Freedom Index – 178 out of 180 nations – for quashing dissent, controlling the public’s access to social media and prosecuting journalists on contentious charges, such as “distributing anti-state propaganda” and “abusing democratic freedoms.”  

As of May 2022, Vietnam had 815 news outlets, including 138 newspapers and 677 magazines, of which 29 operate only in electronic format, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

To implement the government’s plan, the online Tri Tri online newspaper ( of the Vietnam Publishing Association converted to an e-magazine model on April 1, 2020.

In 2022, the government suspended publication of two other websites for three months, Vietnam Law newspaper and the e-magazine Vietnam Business and Border Trade Journal.

The ministry determined that Vietnam Law Newspaper had 13 violations and was fined 325 million dong (US$13,720). The other publication, operated under the auspices of the Vietnam Association of Border Traders, was fined 70 million dong (US$2,960) for an administrative violation.

Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.


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