Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hanoi newspaper refuses to rectify error

Hanoi Moi, the daily newspaper of Hanoi, refused to rectify an assertion made about the eight defendants who were tried last December for their involvement in the Catholic Thai Ha parish dispute. Along with Hanoi's VTV1 Television, it claimed the defendants lowered their heads and acknowledged their guilt at the trial. Two of the defendants, Nguyen Thi Viet and Ngo Thi Dung, filed a lawsuit against the newspaper and television station. They demanded a correction and an apology, insisting they always maintained their innocence during the trial. An article published Feb. 28 in Hanoi Moi passed quickly over the issue of this factual error and went on to condemn the two for their support of this protest over the government's confiscation of Catholic property. According to Eglises d'Asie, the newspaper's stance on this issue seems to be directed by Vietnam's Ministry of Culture and Information.

Eglises d'Asie also noted that lawyer Le Tran Luat, who represents Nguyen Thi Viet and Ngo Thi Dung in this lawsuit, was prevented by Ho Chi Minh City police from departing for Hanoi on March 3 (see March 3 entry below).

The Vietnam government bestowed on both Hanoi Moi and VTV1 television of Hanoi the 2008 "Award for Excellence in Journalism" for their coverage of the Thai Ha parish controversy.

Sources: Hanoi Moi, Feb. 28; Eglises d'Asie/Viet Catholic News March 5. See also Viet Catholic News Jan. 22 for commentary on the award to these two media organizations.


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