Sunday, May 11, 2008

Freedom House rates media freedom in Vietnam

Freedom House ranked Vietnam as a "not free" country in its annual report on worldwide press conditions, Freedom of the Press 2008. It noted that while there were some lifting of press restrictions in 2006 when Vietnam was entering into the World Trade Organization, 2007 was on the other hand marked, in the words of Human Rights Watch, by "one of the worst crackdowns on peaceful dissent in 20 years."

Freedom House noted that more than a dozen journalists and writers were arrested and sentenced to prison last year, for pushing for more open media or writing online essays urging democracy in the country. Among other problems:

- A 1999 law required journalists to pay damages to individuals or groups who are found to have been harmed by press articles, even if those articles were true, for example on corruption.

- Many writers and other dissidents have been punished under Article 88 of Vietnam's Criminal Code, which prohibits anti-government propaganda.

- A decree ratified in July 2006 defines over 2,000 violations of the law under culture and information, with heavy prison terms in order to protect the security of the regime.

- All media is under state control, but even here some journalists have gone outside the official boundaries, and therefore were punished, For example, two Tuoi Tre were removed from office for publishing articles on official corruption. Other underground and publications have been edited by dissidents, some online, but these individuals are liable to severe punishment.

Source: Freedom House annual report, 2008.


At 3:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though I applaud the efforts by Freedom House to voice their opinion about media freedom in Vietnam, the fact is it is still far from the truth. by that i mean the true situations is manifold worse than what's been reported, in all aspects of life. Regular Vietnamese are struggling to survive while communist officials continue to pocket millions of dollars from international aids and other funds; this money is being laundered to Swiss banks and make Vietnamese communist leaders some of the wealthiest people on earth.
This article from Radio Free Asia will elaborate a bit more clearly - it is in Vietnamese but I am sure the staff there will be happy to provide you with an English copy if you ask.



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