A new regulation on the management of pay television (pay TV) which came into effect as of May 15 this year has halted broadcasting of many foreign TV channels in Vietnam.
K+, a joint venture between France's Canal+ and Vietnam Television's cable TV with satellite television service, has stopped airing of 20 foreign channels in compliant with the new regulation, Le Trinh, a staff at the consumers' services department of K+, confirmed on Friday.
They will be allowed to broadcast legally in Vietnam if they get the editing license from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Trinh said, adding that the foreign music channel, Channel V, has recently acquired the license and continues to be broadcast by K+ on Friday.
Other foreign channels including CNN and BBC are under procedure for the editing license and will be brought back to customers in a couple of days, Trinh said.
Under Vietnam's Decision 20/2011/QD-TTg, passed on March 24, 2011, all foreign pay TV channels must be edited and translated into Vietnamese to ensure that their contents are not in contravention of Vietnamese laws on media and advertisement, except for live coverage of sport events, live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies of sporting events at regional and international levels. The editing license and translation must be done before Nov. 15, 2012.
However, the regulation encountered objections from TV providers, saying translating special kinds of foreign news channels including BBC and CNN which broadcast live 24/24 would make the broadcasting being delayed. In order to consider the issue, the MIC has asked the prime minister to extend the deadline to May 15, 2013.
In a further move, on March 29, 2013, the government promulgated Decision 18a/2013/QD-TTg revising several articles of the Regulation on Pay Television Management under Decision 20/2011/ QD-TTg.
Accordingly, there are only two kinds of foreign channels which need to be translated into Vietnamese, including all content on film channels, reportage and documentary program on general channels, general entertainment channels, sports channels and music channels. It means that foreign news channels are freed from translating.
While K+ has stopped airing some foreign channels on its system pending MIC licenses for editing contents, other pay TV providers including Vietnam's state-run cable TV and Hanoi cable TV confirmed with Xinhua on Friday that they have already owned the editing licenses from the ministry, therefore, foreign channels, including CNN and BBC are still broadcast on their systems.