On 15 June 2022, the new Cinema Law (the “Law”) was officially passed by the National Assembly of Vietnam. The Law will take effect from 1 January 2023, replacing an older legislation enacted in 2006. In addition to clarifying requirements relating to film content and film production in Vietnam, the Law also sets out the licensing and other obligations applicable to the dissemination of film in cyberspace.
The following are some key aspects of the Law:
- Definition of “film”
The Law sets out a broad definition for “films”, namely a succession of moving images produced by technical and technological equipment, with or without sound and other effects, written on materials, digitally or otherwise. The Law expressly states that such “films” include feature films, cartoons and documentaries.
The Law also provides a list of works that would not be considered “films”, such as video recordings aimed at disseminating news on radio, television and cyberspace, performing arts programs, video games, and video productions that record the activities of one or more persons, that depict events or situations or reality shows.
- Film Dissemination in Cyberspace
The Law provides that any business that conducts film dissemination activities (“Subjects”) are entitled to disseminate films in cyberspace.
The Law requires such Subjects to ensure that they have the capacity to classify films according to the Government standards. Otherwise, it can make a request to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (“MCST”) to perform the classification. Before disseminating the films in cyberspace, it must notify the MCST of the list of films and their classifications.
- Prohibited content in films
The Law also sets out a list of prohibited content which cannot be featured in films disseminated in Vietnam. This includes content that violates the Constitution and other laws in Vietnam, undermines or harms the national interests, unity or cultural values of Vietnam, misrepresents national history, supports terrorism and extremism, insults beliefs and religions, incites violence or criminal acts, contains depraved images, sounds or dialogue, or violates the rights and interests of minors.
The passing of the Law, together with the upcoming Decree 6, are notable developments in Vietnam as these reflect the growing recognition and consideration given by lawmakers to online media platforms and the dissemination of media in cyberspace.
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