Vietnam’s lawmakers approved legislation on The Law on Access to Information No 104/2016/QH13 (“AIL”) on April 6, 2017.  The Law on Access to Information came into effect on July 1, 2018.

AIL contains 5 chapters and 37 articles. Accordingly, all citizens are equal and there will be no discrimination in the right to access information. The information provided must be accurate and complete. The provision of information must be timely, transparent, accurate and convenient for citizens, while following the process and procedures prescribed by the law. All information released must have been previously declassified by the Government.

Furthermore, there are 14 types of information that will be disclosed publicly, as follows:

a) Legislative documents;

b) Information regarding the dissemination and guidance on the implementation of laws and policies in sectors under the State’s management;

c) Drafts of legislation;

d) National and local socio-economic development strategies, programs, projects, schemes and plans;

e) Information regarding State budget estimates;

f) Information regarding the provision, management and use of official development assistance (ODA) and non-governmental aid;

g) Information about lists of public investment and public procurement projects/programs, and the management and use of public investment funding, the situation and results of the execution of public investment plans/programs/projects;

h) Information about investment activities funded by State budget, the management and use of State capital in enterprises;

i) Information about products, goods and services that have adverse influence on health and the environment;

k) Information about functions, tasks, powers and organization structure of agencies and their affiliated units;

l) Periodical working reports; annual financial statements; information about the statistics on sectors under the State’s management;

m) Name, address, telephone number, fax number and email address of the State agency or the official in charge of receiving information requests;

n) Information concerning public interests and community health;

o) Information concerning taxes, fees and charges;

p) Other information.

AIL also specifies information that citizens cannot access, including State secrets, information with important content in politics, National Defense and security, foreign affairs, economy, science, technology and other areas regulated by the law.

Citizens will not be given access to information if it could harm National Defense and security, international relations, public order, social morality, public health, or the lives and property of others. They are also not allowed to access information containing business secrets and details of internal meetings and documents.

In general, AIL is crucial as a requirement for Vietnam’s further global integration with the increased demand for information transparency.

Around 100 countries have issued laws on access to information. The first to recognize this public right was Sweden in 1766, while other countries didn’t start to include it in their laws until the 1990s. The approval of AIL makes Vietnam the third country in Southeast Asia to have recognized the public’s right to information (after Thailand (1997) and Indonesia (2008)).


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