You often hear about censorship and propaganda when discussing Communist countries like Vietnam, but you never really see it in action. But last Sunday night in Hanoi, I watched it take place before my eyes.
Not all censorship is as forward as the incident I describe in this add-on to episode 28 of the podcast. There are other ways that conversation is curtailed and a world view is shaped on a regular basis – like the tape delay of cable news channels like CNN and BBC World, or laws which prohibit saying certain things about certain historical figures.
My biggest takeaway is that we fail to understand the gravity of the words “censorship” and “propaganda” when we throw them around trivially. To truly appreciate these words, you have to look to places where they form public policy.
It’s important to not let this one part of my Vietnam visit take away from the incredible experiences I had with so many people in the country. But, I’d be failing in providing context to my trip if I didn’t talk about this.