The aforementioned impressive information was announced at the Vietnam Internet Forum 2017 (VIF 2017), themed “#Digitalforgood”, jointly held in Hanoi on November 27 by the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

Held for the first time, VIF 2017 was a place for the participants to exchange ideas on how to take advantage of internet as the source of information to boost development and open up more opportunities for all.

MIC Deputy Minister Pham Hong Hai speaking at the forum

Addressing the forum, MIC Deputy Minister Pham Hong Hai emphasized the important role of the internet in all aspects of life, from the daily life of local people to the operation of organizations, enterprises and State and governmental agencies.

The birth and strong development of the internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and smartphones have promoted connectivity, information and knowledge sharing among billions of people worldwide.

According to to the Deputy Minister, the Government of Vietnam and the MIC have done their utmost to develop the internet, digital content industry (DCI) and value added services application and other services to bring about effective and convenient outcomes for both local people and enterprises.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Vietnam Internet Association, Vu The Binh, said that internet development in Vietnam over the past two decades has resulted in the stronger development of infrastructure and technology as well as applications and social media. The internet has appeared and been present in all aspects of the daily life of people, in both social and economic aspects, Binh stressed.

In agreement with the two Vietnamese officials’ opinions, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Högberg underlined that the internet has had positive impacts, brought about new approaches to developing economy and sparked innovation and entrepreneurship. The internet has also opened up opportunities for each person to be updated with more information and for public authorities to be more open, transparent and accountable.

Evaluating that the internet plays a vital role in “Industry 4.0”, especially for enterprises, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s Deputy Country Director in Vietnam Akiko Fuji highlighted the important role of technology and digital-based companies in, for example, promoting free expressions and facilitating the exchange of ideas and opinions on online platforms, as well as developing new innovations that help marginalized groups benefit from scientific and technological breakthroughs. 

In addition to its benefits, the internet also has its reverse side. According to MIC Deputy Minister Pham Hong Hai, bad and harmful information the on internet and social networks is growing while various agencies, organizations and businesses are faced with cyber-attacks, information security issues, spams, and malware.

The Deputy Minister said that cyber-attacks and harmful information on the internet have been big challenges facing many countries, including Vietnam. At present, numerous countries have issued regulations related to the use of the internet in order to reduce negative impacts, protect rights to privacy, and avoid the use of the internet for destructive or terrorist purposes.

Answering the press on the fake information in the digital era, Ambassador Högberg shared that in the current era of information boom, the role of journalists and reporters, especially of editors-in-chief, is very important.

The Swedish Ambassador noted that in Sweden, press and communications agencies have established a group tasked with rechecking and verifying information and facts with the engagement of readers, audiences and other related agencies and partners, to map out the clearest picture of what has happened in any given situation.

The Ambassador advised that before posting information on social networks or forums, internet users should reconsider and double check it to help give transparent information to others.

On November 27 and 28, VIF 2017 speakers discussed some main issues, including e-government, open data, smart cities, and social media.

With diverse contents in different interactive forms, this forum has actively contributed to Vietnam’s internet development over the next five to ten years.

Translated by Mai Huong