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In brief

On 30 June 2023, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) issued two circulars, Circular No. 05/2023/TT-BTTTT (“Circular 05“) and Circular No. 06/2023/TT-BTTTT (“Circular 06“), to guide the implementation of Government’s Decree No. 06/2016/ND-CP (“Decree 06“), as recently amended (by Decree No. 71/2022/ND-CP) (“Amended Decree 06“).


In detail

Below is our summary of some notable points of these two Circulars:

  1. “Circular 06” is a brand new regulation issued to guide Amended Decree 06 regarding the classification and editing of non-film content.

Specifically, Circular 06 guides the principles of editing, classifying and warning for on-demand radio and television content in sports and entertainment programs (non-film content) as prescribed at Point c, Clause 1, Article 20a of Decree 06.

Regarding editorial principles, Circular 06 provides some general principles, including the following:

  • Ensuring compliance with the Party’s guidelines and the state’s laws
  • Protecting children and other vulnerable subjects
  • Removing prohibited content from programs 

Circular 06 also provides specified editorial principles for: (i) audio and video recording programs for later playback; (ii) live programs; and (iii) sports and entertainment programs with content related to health, education and online video games.

Regarding classification principles, Circular 06 introduces seven classification criteria, including: (1) topic and contents; (2) violence; (3) nudity and sex; (4) drugs, stimulants and addictive substances; (5) horror; (6) indecent images, sounds, and language; and (7) dangerous behaviours that are easy to imitate.

Based on these criteria, the non-film content will be classified into the following categories:

No.CategoriesDefinition
1PThe programs are allowed to be disseminated to listeners and viewers of all ages.
2KThe programs are allowed to be disseminated to listeners and viewers under the age of 13, provided that they are accompanied by parent or guardian supervision.
3T13The programs are allowed to be disseminated to listeners and viewers aged 13 years or older.
4T16The programs are allowed to be disseminated to listeners and viewers aged 16 years or older.
5T18The programs are allowed to be disseminated to listeners and viewers aged 18 years or older.
6CThe programs are not allowed to be disseminated.


Regarding warning principles, Circular 06 provides that the respective classifications must be displayed while the audio and visual programs are being broadcasted. The broadcast of programs with classifications ranging from Category K to Category T18 must be accompanied with a warning display.

Nonetheless, there remains confusion and vagueness regarding when the warning should be displayed, which requires further clarification from the relevant authorities (i.e., the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information (ABEI) and MIC). Specifically, Article 4.2 of Circular 06 indicates that a warning must pop up at least three seconds before the dangerous/violent scenes (as listed under the Circular) until the end of such scenes. In the meantime, Article 5.2 of Circular 06 stipulates that the warning must be displayed at the commencement of and during the program. For television programs, visual and audio programs, a written or verbal warning must be displayed within three seconds after broadcasting the program, and be re-displayed during the program’s duration.

Technical requirements

In addition to the editing, classifying and warning principles, Circular 06 sets out several technical requirements, demanding that the video-on-demand/pay-TV service providers carry out the following:

  • Force users to log in with their personal information before using the service (i.e., listening, viewing program)
  • Enable users to control their access rights (i.e., customize the preferred content)
  • Fully archive the provided programs onto the storage system for 30 days in the event that they are needed for competent authorities inspection
  • Edit content via broadcast delay servers for entertainment programs that are broadcasted live
  1. Circular 05 was issued to amend and supplement the existing Circular No. 19/2016/TT-BTTTT, which provided a regime comprising several templates, registration forms and professional reports for administrative procedures under Decree 06.

The existing forms and templates have been updated in accordance with the newly adopted requirements in Amended Decree 06. In particular, Circular 05 amends 8 forms and supplements 3 new forms prescribed in Circular No. 19/2016/TT-BTTTT, as below:

No.ContentStatus
1Application form for a license to provide paid radio and television servicesAmended
2License to provide paid radio and television servicesAmended
3Registration form for a list of program channels on paid radio and television servicesAmended
4Certificate of registration for the list of channels on paid radio and television servicesAmended
5Registration form for the reception of foreign television signalsAmended
6License to produce domestic radio and television program channelsAmended
7License to edit foreign program channels on paid radio and television servicesAmended
8Report on the production, editing and translation at the request of press agenciesAmended
9Biannual report on the provision of content on radio and television servicesNewly Supplemented
10Monthly report on the provision of content on radio and television servicesNewly Supplemented
11Dossier with instructions for making records on content management on services required by businesses, value-added services, and advertisingNewly Supplemented


In addition to the updated and supplemented forms, Circular 05 also provides detailed guidance on the reporting obligations of the service providers. As noted above, enterprises licensed to provide paid radio and television services are responsible for reporting on the provision of content on radio and television services to ABEI on a bi-annual (periodic report) and monthly (quick report) basis following the adoption of the new forms.

Moreover, enterprises licensed to provide paid radio and television services are also responsible for documenting dossier for tracking content on pay-TV, value-added services, and advertising services.

These two newly issued Circulars will come into force on 15 August 2023.

Conclusion

Circular 05 and Circular 06 aim to finalize the regulatory framework for video-on-demand/paid-TV services in Vietnam. To avoid any business disruptions due to enforcement measures by authorities, it is highly recommended that relevant platforms and service providers in Vietnam develop a compliance plan in accordance with the new regulations to avoid any risk of interruptions to business.

Author

Hung Tran is the practice group leader of the Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology Practice Groups of Vietnam offices. For years, he has been constantly ranked as a leading IP lawyer by numerous researchers such as Chambers Global and Chambers Asia.
He regularly writes articles concerning pressing legal issues in both English and Vietnamese, and his works have been published regularly in various reputable publications. He has assisted the government in reviewing and revising the IP Law, the IP provisions under the country’s criminal code, the draft e-Transaction Law, and the first draft Personal Data Protection Decree, etc.
He is also a respected presenter in the area of IP, Franchising, Data Privacy, and Entertainment Laws. In addition to authoring many publications, Mr. Tran has lectured at Waseda University School of Law (Japan), Vietnam-German University, Hanoi Law University, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Foreign Trade University, an international MBA Program (CFVG) and IP laws for the Professional Training School of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. He used to serve as the Chairman of the Legal Committee of Hanoi American Chamber of Commerce.

Author

Huyen Minh Nguyen is a Senior Associate in BMVN International LLC, Hanoi office.

Author

Tuan Linh Nguyen is a Government Affairs Manager in in BMVN International LLC, Hanoi office.

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