By Nguyễn Anh Tuấn
A paper by Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, fall 2007 fellow, tells the story VietNamNet, Vietnam’s most popular online media outlet and one of the country’s most respected news publications. Although private news outlets are not yet legal—all newspapers are controlled by state organizations—the Vietnamese press has become increasingly vibrant and politically influential. VietNamNet has been reporting on Vietnam’s most consequential political, economic, and social issues, and providing discussion forums. In addition to its website, VietNamNet diversified with several print publications, mobile phone services, and cable television programming. This paper details the technological, economic, cultural, and political challenges that the site had to overcome, providing valuable lessons for online media outlets in developing countries.