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English News in Vietnam: A Quick Guide 2024

Vietnam has a broad number of English-language news agencies and publications. There are, however, limitations on what can and cannot be reported in Vietnam with one of the strictest media censorship regimes in the world. 

That said, with few alternative sources of Vietnamese news media, this guide outlines the key sources of English news in Vietnam and how the information they convey should be considered with respect to their ownership structure.

When engaging with Vietnamese news media, foreign audiences should keep in mind that:

  • By law, all news media in Vietnam must be associated with an agency approved by the government. For example, a government ministry, a trade union, or a university will take ultimate responsibility for the publication;
  • That the role of the media in Vietnam is to support the state, as opposed to hold the the state to account as is common in Western media; and
  • Journalists who offend or upset persons in positions of power can often find themselves in prison and therefore self-censorship is common.

For more information on how Vietnam news is managed by the state and the technical requirements Vietnam news outlets must abide by see: Vietnam news media regulations: An overview

Key English Vietnam news outlets

English language news in Vietnam tends to focus on travel, business, and investment. It is often skewed toward expats living in the country. Often the English language news in Vietnam is reframed to ensure that Vietnam appears in a positive light–in many ways it is a promotional tool rather that a source of good quality, relevant information.

Baring this in mind, these are the main state-owned news media outlets in English.

Vietnam News Agency

Affiliate to: The Government of Vietnam

Website: Vietnam News Agency (VNA) 

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) is the official state-run media organisation. The organisation has a slew of titles under its management across just about every field in both English and Vietnamese. It has bureaus around the world and is Vietnam’s biggest news-gathering apparatus. The bulk of news media in Vietnam, across all publications, comes from VNA and is then repurposed to the needs of the particular publication.

Vietnam News

Owner: Vietnam News Agency

Website: VietNam News 

Vietnam News is the English language arm of VNA. Essentially, it repurposes select VNA articles with a slight skew to foreign audiences. These articles often focus on the positive aspects of living in Vietnam and pay special heed to Vietnamese food and culture, and to travelling in Vietnam. The Vietnam News has an online presence but also produces a print version six days a week.

VN Express International

Affiliate to: Ministry of Science and Technology

Website: VnExpress International 

VN Express began life as a non-government online news publication owned by Vietnam’s FTP Group, one of Vietnam’s biggest IT firms. Until 2020 it was privately owned, however, in line with revisions to media regulations in 2018, it was placed under the administration of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

VN Express has both Vietnamese and English language versions. Whereas the Vietnamese version tends to be more shrewd and focuses on the nitty-gritty of life in Vietnam, the English language version tends to focus on the expat community. In particular, the English-teaching community and Vietnamese food, culture, and tourism.

Tuoi Tre News

Affiliate to: Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union

Website: Tuoi Tre News 

Skewed toward younger adults, Tuoi Tre (it translates to ‘Youth’) has had a tumultuous history. It’s run afoul of media regulations a number of times and was shut down for three months in 2018 by the  Ministry of Information and Communications for what was dubbed ‘untrue content and causing national disunity.’

The newspaper’s head office is in Ho Chi Minh City and it produces both a Vietnamese and English version.

Vietnam Investment Review

Owner: Ministry of Planning and Investment

Website: Vietnam Investment Review 

The Vietnam Investment Review (VIR) was established in 1991. The publication claims that 97 percent of foreign companies and representative offices in Vietnam regularly receive copies of the VIR. This seems unlikely. That said, it is relatively well written and often includes think pieces from key industry leaders that can offer valuable insights into doing business in Vietnam–however, they do sometimes censor submissions they believe may not be received well by the authorities.

The Investor

Owner: Vietnam’s Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE)

Website: The Investor.vn 

The Investor, as the name suggests, focuses on investment projects, incentives, and related policy. It often carries think pieces and executive interviews with industry leaders that can provide useful insights into particular sectors. It is often among the first to run articles about major investments which may be because of its close ties to Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises.

Alternative sources of English language news in Vietnam

With the mainstream media in Vietnam heavily controlled by the state, a number of alternative sources of news and information have emerged. These sources can often provide better, higher-quality information and are more often than not far more objective that local news media.

Social media

For professionals in Vietnam, Linkedin has become crucial for connecting with other professionals, finding support, and acquiring leads. As an English language site, and attracting far fewer users that Facebook or TikTok, Linkedin often flies quietly under the radar. From 2020 to 2022, Linkedin reported that there were no removal requests made by the Vietnamese authorities. In this light, Linkedin users in Vietnam are often more frank and ernest than they might be on other platforms.

Industry groups

Industry groups in Vietnam, particular foreign chambers of commerce, usually have a direct line to the government. They are often involved in high level discussions and as such often have unique insights into Vietnam’s development. Furthermore, as representative bodies commanding memberships that represent huge amounts of foreign investment, they also have some cover to be more open an honest than they might otherwise be able to be. Most of these bodies put out there own regular newsletters.

Law firms and consultancies

Most law firms and consultancies in Vietnam distribute updates or some form of newsletter discussing the implications of policy, legislation, and regulation. These are often infrequent and many use third party platforms like Mondaq. They do, however, often contain nuggets of wisdom and insight that address the specific implications for foreign firms.

What’s next?

Whereas there are a lot of Vietnam news sites out there, the quality is not always the best and it can be challenging trying to find clear and accurate information. With this in mind, the-shiv endeavours to break down what is happening in Vietnam’s business news into smaller, more manageable bites. If this is what you are looking for then make sure to follow us on Linkedin and sign up to our weekly newsletter below.


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