Hanoi, Vietnam – Vietnam’s pay-TV operator, K+, has announced that signal of 21 of its foreign channels will be temporarily switched off on K+ platform as of May 15th, 2013 until they are granted Editing Licenses by Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communication. This decision follows the Regulations on Management of pay-TV Operations issued by Decision No. 20/2011/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister, in which an international TV channel is subject to certain legal requirements in order to be broadcasted in Vietnam. According to “Decision 20”, an international channel without Editing License is not permitted to be broadcasted on any Vietnam’s pay-TV operator’s platform. This regulation was officially applied on all Vietnam’s pay-TV platforms as of May 15th, 2013. The channels suspended on the platform are Eurosport, Eurosport News, Star World, DIVA Universal, NHK World, TLC, Cinemax, AXN, MGM, Luxe TV, Arirang, Channel V, CNBC, CNN, Channels News Asia, BBC, Fox Sports Plus, NGC HD, Discovery World HD, AXN HD, and Star Movies HD.
John Medeiros, Chief Policy Officer at CASBAA commented on the apparent “confusion”, largely due to the requirement to translate content in Vietnamese.
“Even Vietnamese operators of pay-TV systems cannot be sure how the regulations will be implemented, much less international channels.” He went on to say that “the government at the highest levels has expressed its intention not to exclude international channels from Vietnam. And indeed, some changes to translation requirements for news channels were introduced, in order to remove operating burdens on them. However, there seem to be roadblocks in implementing this policy. Overall, the licensing regulations on the books remain restrictive in their effects. No licenses have been issued to international channels of any genre in the last six months. Contracting requirements for editing of news channels remain problematic.”
CASBAA, and the international Pay-TV industry, intend to remain in dialogue with the Vietnamese authorities. John Medeiros said “we regret that the effect of the regulatory process as of today seems to restrict access of numerous international channels to the Vietnam market. Consumers everywhere else in Southeast Asia enjoy the opportunity to view a wide mix of domestic and international television, and we hope that the government will see its way clear to allow Vietnamese citizens to join their ASEAN neighbours.”