Baker McKenzie Vietnam participated in the Consultation Workshop on the Draft Decree on Management, Provision, and Use of, Radio and Television Services (Workshop) held in Hanoi on 12 December 2018.

Jointly organized by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham), the purpose of the Workshop was to discuss and raise concerns surrounding the draft decree amending Decree 06/2016/ND-CP on Management, Provision, and Use of, Radio and Television Services (Draft Decree). Most notably, the Draft Decree proposes to include on-demand services provided over the Internet as a type of radio and television services. If this Draft Decree is passed as worded, radio and television-related requirements would be imposed on both local and offshore Over-The-Top (OTT) service providers. For example, such OTT service providers would have to comply with licensing and advertising requirements.

More than 100 participants attended the event, where representatives from various government agencies, state-owned enterprises, and private companies were eager to voice their views surrounding the Draft Decree. Some key issues that were raised are as follows:

  • The government and industry should engage in further discourse to come to a clearer conceptual/technical shared understanding of OTT services, so that Vietnam can devise an appropriate approach for OTT service regulations;
  • Local OTT service providers feel great burden from the scope of Decree 06/2016/ND-CP being expanded to cover local OTT service providers in the Draft Decree; and
  • Questions relating to how the MIC intends to deal with potential overlaps with other laws/regulations (e.g., Law on Cinematography).

Dang Thanh Son, our partner in the Hanoi office, delivered a presentation that covered the following key points:

  • Overview of the history of OTT services in Vietnam;
  • The immense potential held by important technological developments on internet platforms, specifically OTT services, and the role they will play in Vietnam's economic transformation journey into the digital economy era;
  • How traditional broadcasters and OTT servers are distinct functionally and technically;
  • The Draft Decree's requirements would have burdensome implications on both foreign and local OTT service providers (e.g., local establishment would be required to obtain the compulsory license for foreign entities, WTO commitment considerations in relation to the advertising requirement, etc.); and
  • International best practices which include jurisdictions that appreciate the need for a separate regulation regime for OTT service providers.

Over 30 media outlets covered the event, which perhaps reflects the popularity of OTT services in Vietnam today.

The public consultation period was closed in September 2018, but the VCCI has consolidated all the comments shared at the Workshop and submitted it to the Ministry of Justice, where it is undergoing review.

Should your organization like to discuss any concerns in relation to the Draft Decree, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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