VIETNAM


Asia cases 2005: Country List    I   Asia Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press



JANUARY 5, 2005
Posted January 27, 2005

Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, Tuoi Tre
HARASSED, LEGAL ACTION

Lan Anh, a staff reporter for the daily Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, was indicted on a charge of "appropriating state secrets." The January 5 announcement of legal action against Lan Anh followed her series of investigative articles about manipulations of the drug market by the pharmaceutical company Zuellig Pharma.

Lan Anh was ordered not to leave her home in Hanoi, sources told CPJ. The indictment stems specifically from a May 2004 article by Lan Anh in which she quotes a document submitted by the Health Ministry to the Prime Minister. In the document, the health minister recommends a comprehensive investigation of Zuellig Pharma Vietnam, a subsidiary of the multi-national Zuellig Pharma.

In her articles, Lan Anh wrote that the pharmaceutical company's monopoly on the market of certain medicines in Vietnam had been driving up drug prices to "unacceptable levels." In February 2004, the company signed a commitment with the Health Ministry to stabilize its prices, but the Vietnamese government allowed Zuellig's import contract to expire in September 2004.

Tuoi Tre is a popular daily that enjoys wide circulation in Vietnam. It is owned by the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Union, an organization under the direct management of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

The action against Lan Anh came amid a government drive to further restrict online and print journalism in Vietnam.

APRIL 25, 2005
Posted: May 4, 2005

Nguyen Thanh Giang and Tran Khue
HARASSED


The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the official harassment of dissident writers Nguyen Thanh Giang and Tran Khue. In an apparent attempt to silence dissent before the 30th anniversary of the defeat of U.S. forces, articles in the state media denounced the two writers for their views, and a group of men calling themselves "veterans" harassed Giang at his home on April 4.

A series of articles run in the official publications Cong An (Public Security) and Phap Luat (Laws) denounced Giang for statements he has made in his writings and accused him of calling Vietnam's role in the war "meaningless." Giang, a geophysicist and pro-democracy writer, has said that these articles distort the meaning of a piece that he wrote which questioned the benefit to either side of the Vietnam War.

On April 4, three men who said that they belonged to a veterans' group entered Giang's house, according to an open letter to the government that Giang wrote on April 8. Holding copies of the official publications in which Giang was criticized, the men demanded to know why Giang had made statements against the war.

Authorities did not respond to a complaint Giang filed with the local police regarding the April 4 incident. On April 15, Phap Luat published another article denouncing him and ran it beside a letter purporting to be from the veterans' group, which called for him to be "rid from social life."

In a similar case of denunciation, a recent article in the state-run An Ninh The Gioi (World Security) magazine condemned writer Tran Khue as a reactionary. Khue was released from prison in July 2004 after serving a 19-month sentence on charges of "taking advantage of democratic rights to infringe upon the interests of the state."

CPJ sources have said that they believe the harassment of these two writers is an attempt to silence them before the official celebrations on April 30, which will commemorate the defeat of U.S. forces.


APRIL 25, 2005
Posted: June 7, 2005

Nguyen Thanh Giang and Tran Khue
HARASSED


The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the official harassment of dissident writers Nguyen Thanh Giang and Tran Khue. In an apparent attempt to silence dissent before the 30th anniversary of the defeat of U.S. forces, articles in the state media denounced the two writers for their views, and a group of men calling themselves "veterans" harassed Giang at his home on April 4.

A series of articles run in the official publications Cong An (Public Security) and Phap Luat (Laws) denounced Giang for statements he has made in his writings and accused him of calling Vietnam's role in the war "meaningless." Giang, a geophysicist and pro-democracy writer, has said that these articles distort the meaning of a piece that he wrote which questioned the benefit to either side of the Vietnam War.

On April 4, three men who said that they belonged to a veterans' group entered Giang's house, according to an open letter to the government that Giang wrote on April 8. Holding copies of the official publications in which Giang was criticized, the men demanded to know why Giang had made statements against the war.

Authorities did not respond to a complaint Giang filed with the local police regarding the April 4 incident. On April 15, Phap Luat published another article denouncing him and ran it beside a letter purporting to be from the veterans' group, which called for him to be "rid from social life."

In a similar case of denunciation, a recent article in the state-run An Ninh The Gioi (World Security) magazine condemned writer Tran Khue as a reactionary. Khue was released from prison in July 2004 after serving a 19-month sentence on charges of "taking advantage of democratic rights to infringe upon the interests of the state."

CPJ sources have said that they believe the harassment of these two writers is an attempt to silence them before the official celebrations on April 30, which will commemorate the defeat of U.S. forces.

DECEMBER 8, 2005
Posted January 4, 2006

Do Nam Hai, freelance
HARASSED

Police in Ho Chi Minh City interrogated Hai overnight about his efforts to make 11 copies of his book, Let's Have a Referendum, which was published in the U.S. in September. Hai, commonly known by his pen name Phuong Nam, was detained at around 5 p.m., according to a statement by the writer. He was deprived of sleep by four security agents who took shifts questioning him before releasing him the next day. Hai feared that authorities planned to arrest him.

Hai, who has published articles calling for democratic reform in Vietnam, has previously been subjected to official harassment. In August 2004, he was held in police custody for two days, and was detained again overnight in December 2004.

The government controls the media in Vietnam, and restricts independent publishing. Three Vietnamese writers—Nguyen Khac Toan, Nguyen Vu Binh and Pham Hong Son—were imprisoned in 2005 on antistate charges for writings distributed online.


DECEMBER 29, 2005
Posted: January 17, 2006

Tieng Noi Dan Chu
CENSORED, HARASSED

Hackers shut down the Tieng Noi Dan Chu (Democratic Voices) Web site 19 days after it launched on International Human Rights Day, the U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. Tieng Noi Dan Chu was founded by dissident writer Tran Khue and U.S.-based Nguyen Xuan Ngai, and presented articles and opinion pieces on democratization and reform in Vietnam.

At around 2 p.m., the Web site became unavailable, and visitors were led to a notice in Vietnamese reading "Entry Forbidden! You are not allowed to download this Web page." The notice was similar to the one used by government filters.

A few hours later, the site reopened but articles were unavailable, and a banner at the top called the page "the Web site of liars."

The site's founders believed that government hackers had disrupted the Web site, according to RFA.

Khue was released from prison in July 2004 after serving a 19-month sentence on charges of "taking advantage of democratic rights to infringe upon the interests of the state."