Vietnam Clamps Down On Bloggers And Online Journalists

    September 4, 2009

The Committee to Protect Journalists is condemning the recent arrests of online journalists and political bloggers in Vietnam.

The crackdown comes as online journalists and bloggers independent reporting challenges Vietnam’s tightly censored state-run media’s monopoly on local news and opinion.

Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator
Bob Dietz, CPJ
Asia Program Coordinator

On August 28, police arrested journalist Pham Doan Trang, a reporter with the popular online news site VietnamNet. Trang had recently reported on sensitive land disputes between China and Vietnam. Access to a number of Trang’s articles on that topic were blocked after her arrest.

According to the Free Journalists Network of Vietnam (FJNV), an independent press freedom group, Trang had also shared sensitive information with bloggers and other journalists about a Chinese advisor for economic and trade issues who called on his Vietnamese counterparts to discipline certain local newspapers and journalists.

On August 27, police arrested political blogger Bui Thanh Hieu, also known by his blogger name, Nguoi Buon Gion, which means "Wind Trader." In recent posts, the 37-year old blogger wrote critically about competing territorial claims with China. The FJNV said police searched Hieu’s house after his arrest and confiscated two of his computers and other personal belongings. 

"We call on Vietnamese authorities to unconditionally and immediately release Pham Doan Trang and Bui Thanh Hieu," said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

"Vietnam is already one of the world’s worst violators of Internet freedom, and recent actions only underscore that reputation."