Successful satire web site Haivl fined, shuttered by censors

(VNRN) – A satire website that attracted one of Vietnam’s top traffic count was fined US$100,000 and ordered close by the Ministry of Information and Communication on Oct 24, barely more than two weeks after it was sold to a local ad agency for a record US$1.5 million.

The site Haivl.com, which claims to mimic the style of 9gag.com, had been ranked 13th in Vietnam for traffic by Alexa.com and its Facebook page has received more than 4.4 million likes.

Like 9gag, the site allowed users to upload funny pictures, videos, memes and satires of popular comic strips. The site also provided templates to help users create the memes. The site’s name, Haivl, contains an abbreviation of a profanity and can be roughly translated as “effing funny.”

The censors, apparently unamused by Haivl’s humor, concluded that the site “seriously violated regulations related to online electronic information.”

In an interview published on Dan Tri news site, Vice-Minister Truong Minh Tuan accused Haivl of “seriously violating good norms, publishing lusty, sexy, objectionable pictures, offending famous figures.”

Not funny, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication.

Not funny, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication.

About two weeks earlier, on Oct. 9, the website was sold to by its founders, APPVL Company, to ad agency 24h Online Advertising JSC for a record 33 million dong, which then became APPVL’s majority shareholder.

The Ministry of Information and Communication has jurisdiction over all newspapers, magazines, publishers, television, radio and web sites in Vietnam.

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