Vietnam Culture

Vietnam Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Vietnam

The distribution of newspapers in Vietnam is small (4 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). There are six newspapers, all state-owned but with different publishers. The largest is the party body Nhân Dân (‘The People’), published in Hanoi for about 200,000 copies. According to the Press Act of 1989, the press should be a support for the party’s policy but also a forum for the people. However, it has happened that newspapers were banned and journalists imprisoned; Self-censorship is common.

Radio and TV are operated by the state. Ti那ng Noi Vi那t Nam (‘The Voice of Vietnam’) broadcasts radio in both national and regional channels. Television broadcasts national programs in one channel and is also responsible for regional broadcasts. There are 109 radio and 185 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, in Socialist Vietnam, the state and the Communist Party hold cultural life in tight rein. The country has a number of significant authors, and several have been translated into Swedish and other European languages. Vietnamese film has been strongly influenced by the wars in the country.

During the thousand years that Vietnam was ruled by China (112 BC – 936 AD), cultural life was strongly influenced by the neighboring countries in the north. After the French colonization in the late 19th century, fiction, drama and concert music of the Western type were introduced. During the war in the 1960s and 1970s, American pop music and entertainment films came to South Vietnam with the American troops.

The reform policy, which began in 1986, has increased the freedom of expression, while the state’s financial contribution to culture has decreased. Old cultural festivals with religious elements have been revived under strong popular commitment, while “fine culture” has made it harder to stand on its own.

Among Vietnam’s best-known writers are Bao Ninh (Sorrows of War), Nguyen Huy Thiep, Duong Thu Huong and Pham Thi Hoai. Vietnamese-born Nam Le had a major breakthrough with the short story collection Boat (2007). The editions are usually small, but the books reach many readers in pirate copies. All publishing activities are subject to the state and all manuscripts are previewed. The books must not “damage the interests of the country, deny the significance of the revolution and positive influence or undermine morale”.

Many film directors learned the craft on the battlefields and for a long time the production consisted mainly of documentaries and propaganda. However, Vietnamese feature films have been made since the 1930s. Internationally renowned contemporary directors are Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya, Cyclo, When the Sun Rises), Tony Bùi (Three Seasons), Minh Nguyen-Vo (The Buffalo Boy) and Luu Huynh (The White Silk Dress). All directors were born in Vietnam but mainly raised abroad.



Free trade agreement with the EU

June 30th

Vietnam and the EU sign a free trade agreement, which means that customs duties on virtually all import goods will be sharply lowered. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström calls the agreement a decisive step towards better cooperation with Southeast Asian economies. The agreement also contains rules for labor law, the environment and copyright for intellectual property. The FTA enters into force when both parties’ legislators have approved it.


Vietnam in the UN Security Council

7 June

The UN General Assembly elects Vietnam together with Estonia, Niger, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the UN Security Council. The five countries will sit in the Council for two years starting January 1, 2020.


Vietnam does business ahead of summit in Hanoi

February 27th

Vietnam’s top political leader and business peaks meet US President Trump hours before a summit in Hanoi is held between him and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un. A series of agreements, worth a total of $ 21 billion, are signed between Vietnamese airlines and US aircraft manufacturers. The United States has long urged Vietnam to buy more of the United States, as the trade deficit is large between the two countries, to the benefit of Vietnam. The aviation industry in Vietnam has grown in recent years as the country’s middle class has become larger and richer. The number of air travelers increased from 25 million in 2012 to 62 million in 2018. The airlines that include purchase agreements on aircraft, engines and maintenance and spare parts include the state-owned Vietnam Airlines, the low cost flight Vietjet and the newly formed Bamboo Airways,

Ministers are suspected of corruption in the million class

February 23

Two former ministers are arrested for wastage of state funds when in 2015 they approved a failed attempt by state Mobifone to buy the loss-hit privately owned TV company AVG. The deal is estimated to have cost the state millions of dollars. Truong Minh Tuan, Minister of Communications between 2011 and 2016, and the successor Nguyen Bac Son, who was laid off in July 2018, are just two in a row of high-ranking politicians and civil servants accused or convicted of corruption since Vietnam’s top political leadership launched a campaign against corruption on the highest level of society in 2016.

Vietnam Culture

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