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2013-08-23 06:18

PERMISSION NEEDED: This image taken by cell phone of a Joburg metro officer would be illegal in Vietnam as the public and media now need permission to photograph traffic officers on duty according to a new law. Image: JANINE-LEE GORDON

HANOI, Vietnam - New rules that require the public and journalists to seek permission to photograph or film on-duty traffic cops have provoked criticism.

The director of the ministry of public security's road, rail and traffic department, Tran Son Ha, said the new rules are intended to help police against those who threaten or protest against traffic police on duty.

CORRUPTION PROTECTION?

Corruption, however, seems to work both ways. There have been reports of people using images of police accepting bribes to blackmail the corrupt.

Critics said law prevented journalists and citizens from exposing police who took bribes instead of issuing fines. Prominent journalist Huy Duc wrote on Facebook: "The traffic police should have thanked people for photographing officers violating the law and warned their officers to carry out their duty properly."

Ha Minh Hue, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Journalists' Association, said telling journalists to ask for permission was against the media laws. Nguyen Manh Ha, a truck driver, said: "The regulation is to protect traffic cops taking money from traffic violators."

Vietnamese police have retained their position as the most corrupt of 12 institutions in that country, according to a survey released by Transparency International.

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