Vietnam operates a network of "public opinion shapers": BBC

2013-01-14 07:54:33 GMT2013-01-14 15:54:33(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Vietnamese propaganda officials have admitted deploying people to engage in online discussions and post comments supporting the Communist Party's policies, according to a BBC report.

The party has also confirmed that it operates a network of nearly 1,000 "public opinion shapers".

They are assigned with the task of spreading the party line.

Hanoi Propaganda and Education Department head Ho Quang Loi said that the authorities had hired hundreds of so-called "internet polemists" in the fight against "online hostile forces".

While the exact number of these activists is unknown, Mr Loi revealed that his organization is running at least 400 online accounts and 20 microblogs.

Regular visitors on popular social media networks in Vietnam such as Facebook have long noticed the existence of a number of pro-government bloggers, who frequently post comments and articles supportive of the Communist Party.

Mr Loi said such bloggers helped a great deal in stopping negative rumours and had blocked online calls for mass gatherings in the city.

Vietnam's capital saw at least dozen public protests in 2011, but the number was greatly reduced last year.

It is not clear whether these operatives, and the bloggers, are on official payrolls. But they are being praised by officials as a sophisticated and effective tool in controlling public opinion.

(Agencies)

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Editor: Mei Jingya
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