Vietnamese Government Cracks Down On Bloggers

arton8894-af454.jpgIn response to the fast growing citizen journalist movement, the Vietnamese government launched a new entity (Administration Agency for Radio, Television and Electronics Information) and decree to restrict Internet freedom, censor private blogs, and compel information technology companies to cooperate with authorities.

Since the end of last year, authorities in Vietnam have taken further steps to restrict freedom of expression by unleashing a systematic campaign against bloggers and internet activists. At least 15 bloggers have been arrested and harassed since September 2008.

Nguyen Xuan Nghia, Nguyen Van Tuc, Ngo Quynh, Nguyen Van Tinh, Nguyen Kim Nhan, Nguyen Manh Son, Pham Thanh Nghien and Vu Hung were all arrested in September 2008 for posting writings online regarding sovereignty disputes with China. Also in September 2008, Blogger Nguyen Van Hai, writing under the pen-name Dieu Cay, was sentenced to jail for “tax evasion” after he had planned a peaceful rally against the Beijing Olympic torch relay.

In May 2009, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, known by his blogging name ChangeWeNeed, was arrested for posting online critiques of the government.

Three months after, Bui Thanh Hieu (alias blogger Nguoi Buon Gio) was arrested for criticizing government policies on China. Journalist Huy Duc was dismissed from his newspaper job under pressure from authorities after writing about the Berlin Wall on his personal blog, Osin.

Journalist Pham Doan Trang, who has a blog and writes for the online newspaper VietnamNet, was detained after criticizing the harassment of Vietnamese journalists by Chinese embassy officials.

Blogger Sphinx was detained for posting on his blog a picture of himself wearing a T-shirt saying “Paracel and Spratly islands belong to Vietnam. ”

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, alias blogger Me Nam (Mother Mushroom), was also arrested. She posted pictures wearing a “stop bauxite mining in Vietnam” t-shirt.

Global Voices Advocacy welcomes the recent release of Bui Thanh Hieu, Pham Doan Trang and Sphinx and calls on the Vietnamese government to release all bloggers and internet activists remaining in prison.
The Committee to Protect Journalists calls Vietnam one of the “10 worst countries to be a blogger. ”

Reporters Without Borders lists the Vietnamese government as an “enemy of the internet. ”

Despite the restrictions posed by authorites, Global Voices Advocacy encourges all Vietnamese citizen journalists to continue to exercise their freedom of expression online.

Bloggers can always use our Anonymous Blogging with WordPress and Tor guide to protect their identity, avoid retaliation and considerably reduce the risks that their identity will be linked to their online writings through technical means.

The web has become a critical tool for over 20 million Vietnamese internet users to access and share information beyond the censorship of state-run media.

All information in this post has been provided by Viet Tan , a Vietnamese pro-democracy group.

9 comments

  • Edwin Tran

    VIET TAN IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, THEY ARE A VIOLENT GROUP BASED IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA AND USA. IF YOU AGAINST THEM THEN YOU WILL BE TREATED THE SAME OR EVEN WORST AS A PRISONER OF GUANTANO BAY, CUBA of USA.
    THEY ARE ALSO A BUNCH OF EXTREME RELIGIOUS GROUP AND WILLINGLY DO IF THE POPE TO ASKS EXPLORE THEMSELVES, AND THEY WILL!

  • Edwin Tran

    I POSTED VIET TAN MANY MINI VIEWS ABOUT TODAY OF VIETNAM, BUT THEY SILENTLY IGNORED ALL AND THIS HAS PROVED THAT THEY ARE NOT DEMOCRACY AT ALL!
    “A DEMOCRACY WHERE ODD VIEWS MUST ALSO BE RESPECTED AND HERE VIET TAN BEHAVES EXACTLY THOSE FORMER SOUTHERN VIETNAM GOVERNMENT (VNCH)”.
    IF ANY WESTERN GOVERNMENT SUPPORT THIS LOT SO NAMED MUST BE IGNORANCE OR RELIGIOUS REASONS. MIXING RELIGIOUS AND POLITICS WERE WRONG AND WOULD BE SAD TO SEE IT HAPPENS AGAIN!

  • Edwin Tran

    Sami Ben Gharbia,

    Tell VIET TAN that they would would be more supportive from the Vietnamese Community around the globe and may be some in Vietnam too, and that if they scraped the flag of Yellow and three strips and accepted The Red and yellow star.

  • Andrew

    Edwin doesn’t make any sense. Thanks Sami for focusing on an important issue. These bloggers are true Vietnamese patriots.

  • Marloes

    In Vietnamese, first and last name are in the reverse order. But if you talk about Vietnamese people in other languages where it is conventional to mention first name before last name, just use the normal order. Now it looks like almost everyone has the name first name, while it is the case that they share the last name Nguyen (one of the most common last names in Vietnam).

  • Edwin TRAN

    Sami properly work for the Human Rights Group.

  • Edwin TRAN

    Please read and was why!

    (0)
    EdwinTran wrote:
    What is the Human Rights Group and who are they? The answer is a Religious Body created by Vatican, or you can call it as the Roman Empire orders.
    Here are the associated organizations:
    German Homeschoolers
    German Pastors
    American Pastors
    High school students forming Bible Clubs on their campus
    Street Preachers
    Missionaries at:
    • The Atlanta Olympics 1996
    • The Salt Lake City Olympics 2002
    • The Athens Olympics 2004
    • The Torino Olympics 2006
    • The World Cup of Soccer in Germany 2006
    • The Super Bowl 2006/2007
    • The World Cricket Championships 2007
    • The World Cup of Rugby 2007
    American Churches with their organizational needs
    Christian Radio Broadcasters
    Pro-Life Protesters
    Pastors in Columbia, South America
    Crusade Outreaches in Argentina
    French Pastors and Churches and Bible Colleges
    British Television and Radio Ministries
    American Christian Ministries
    Christians distributing literature on streets of America
    A variety of Christian ministries
    Cities developing free speech policies
    Local sheriff’s departments in America
    Pastors in Russia
    Missionaries in Russia
    Churches in Russia
    American ministries in Russia
    Missionaries in Greece
    Local ministries in Greece
    Street preachers in Greece
    Romanian Churches
    Romanian Pastors
    Romanian Christian Television Ministries
    It is not the UN organization. I have not seen any Asian representing for this organization. It thinks it doing the right job helping people around the world, but failed to make an impact the American Guantanamo Holiday resort for the Muslims.
    The most recent article by the Telegraph, 21 Oct 2009 quoted ‘Tory plans to scrap Human Rights Act’ and you can read it on
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news
    Is this worth it debating?

  • Edwin TRAN

    EdwinTran wrote:
    I would definitely like to see the Human Rights Watch Group should make up all the major religions of the world:
    Christian
    Muslins
    Buddhism
    Jews
    Hindu
    Vu do
    Taoism
    At a moment the Human Rights Group and Economics Sanction Plans by the Christian nations are positive correlated. These were reasons why American Vietnamese born with Catholics origin mongering in every ways and trying to freeze the vital development planned by Vietnamese Communist Party for Vietnam. This is dirty thinking!

  • Edwin TRAN

    (0)
    EdwinTran wrote:
    People like Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch’s Deputy Asian Director earning may be some 50,000 or more USD per annum for herself from the Asian Church collections from country like Philippines, Vietnam to make her living standard to the top range in Asia wealth off, meanwhile she is risking the lives for these poor and innocent people becoming an enemy to their own nation for Vatican. To think of this The Human Rights Group should be banned a TERRRIST GROUP! 10/23/2009 3:46:04 AM

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