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Vietnam


Prominent dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu, shown here in a Hanoi court in 2011, has been released and allowed to leave Vietnam, but most journalists do not have his connections. (Reuters/Thong Nhat/Vietnam News Agency)

Dinh Dang Dinh, a former Vietnamese schoolteacher and blogger, died on April 3 from cancer of the stomach. Near death, he had been released from his six-year prison sentence on March 21, and allowed to return home to die in Dak Nong province in Vietnam's Central Highlands. His crime, to which he had pled not guilty, had been to blog about corruption and environmental issues.  He was found guilty under Article 88-1 (c) of the Criminal Code for "conducting propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam." 

Next week, the Committee to Protect Journalists will be honoring four journalists from around the world at the International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition of courageous reporting. As the awardees from Ecuador, Egypt, and Turkey make the journey to attend the awards and benefit dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on November 26, one of the awardees will be absent.

There is good news from Strasbourg that follows up on my entry from earlier this week, "European Parliament has chance to take on Vietnam." Today, the European Parliament did exactly that when they unanimously adopted an Urgent Resolution on Vietnam. It was a wide-ranging document, but a large part was devoted the freedom of expression issues that are central to CPJ's concerns. In Article 7, the European Parliament:

On Thursday, April 18, the European Parliament will discuss Vietnam's human rights in a plenary session. At the top of the agenda will be freedom of expression. Over the weekend, CPJ's Brussels-based Senior Adviser Jean-Paul Marthoz blogged about the issues the parliament must confront in Le Soir.  

Vietnam's crackdown on independent bloggers hit a new low in recent days with reports of sexual violence perpetrated by state officials against a prominent online reporter.  

Danlambao: We will not be silenced

A screenshot of the home page for Danlambao, a collective blog recently singled out by Vietnam's prime minister as untruthful.

On September 12, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued an administrative order--number 7169--accusing us, Danlambao, of "publishing information that is false, fabricated, and untruthful to slander the leadership of the nation, to agitate the people against the Party and the State, to cause doubts and create bad publicity reducing the people's trust in the state leadership." The order directed the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Information Communication and Media to investigate and discipline any groups or individuals who affiliate with Danlambao.

Farmers protest the seizure of their land for industrial projects in Hun Yen province. Two journalists were assaulted by police recently for covering the forced eviction of villagers. (Reuters)

Recent physical assault on two state media reporters in Vietnam underscores the risks of reporting on increasingly sensitive land issues in the communist-ruled country. The attack on the reporters signals a potential extension of the media crackdown that until now has targeted mainly unsanctioned journalists and bloggers.

A major leap forward for freedom of expression in Vietnam has been the rise of blogs. But this development has led to growing conflicts between bloggers, government authorities, and, potentially, multinational Internet service companies.  
Time.com's "China Blog" has a post today titled "A Dark Time for Reporters in China" that outlines some recent cases of harassment and violence against journalists working in the country and quotes our statistics of journalists imprisoned for their work.

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