I was in disbelief to learn that one of my friends was accused of defaming the university via his blog entries on Yahoo 360 and was threatened to be dispelled by the school, whose decision will be heard from a few weeks later.
The accusation was that this friend wrote negative things about the school in a sarcastic manner. They said he should have written a report to the school via the “Phòng Tiếp dân” – a.k.a “citizen listening room”, a term coined by the government, to express his concern, and that writing about the school on a public blog was a wrong act of his.
In his entries, he criticized the way exams are being conducted electronically via Moodle. The thing is, most of the multiple choices are compiled by the northern branch in Hanoi and the lecturers here have no idea what it’s all about. So we study one thing and are asked another in exams. Fortunately, the photocopy shop nearby knows the questions so they just print them out and we just learn them by heart and will pass the exams with ease. While the general population is happy with it, there’s not much we can learn from the lectures.
Another entry was used to criticize the Marketing lecturer who claimed to be the man behind the Zero Degree Tea brandname. All he did was boast about himself, flirt the girls (and even boys) shamelessly, attack them with relentless sms messages, destroy everyone’s last semester, cause some of us to be detained and warned by the school.
Another was about how the school responded to the situation, discussed the quality of education delivered by the school, and contained unfavorable comments on some specific lecturers who didn’t do a good job.
The accusation took place right in front of us in an informal meeting this afternoon. People were forced to express their opinion of this event and some exploded with their true feelings about what they’ve learnt in the past for years. Others who kept silent all agreed with the points my friend made but there was nothing they could do about it.
Initially I thought I was funny for the school to do so because blogging is a form of freedom of speech. But we’re living in a society where self-censorship plays a crucial role in our personal safety. And short-tempered behavior, even in our digital life, can cause severe harm and damage.
May the force be with him, and with us.
PS: The “blog” entry on Wikipedia also pointed out several situations in which people were filed against due to their entries on the net.