Archive for Freedom of The Press

Goodbye to Another Journalist in Vietnam

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on February 20, 2011 by Ian Pham

Several weeks ago, Jan. 20, veteran reporter Le Hoang Hung was brutally attacked and left to die inside of his home near Ho Chi Minh City.  The intruders broke into Hung’s house, doused him with gasoline while he was still sleeping, and lit the man on fire.  Though his family managed to save him from the burns, Le Hoang Hung would die in the hospital, ten days later.

It is very possible that Hung’s attack was a result of his journalism, which was critical of the Vietnamese government and the ongoing corruption within the Party.  His colleagues say that he covered a wide range of topics in his works, including land disputes, the police, and corruption among government officials and business people.  Many believe that the attack was retribution for bringing their shames to light.

So much for more freedom of the press.  I’ve previously said that actions speak louder than words, now let’s look at what the Communists have done.  They said they were going to protect journalists, but guess what’s been happening.  Though the murderers were never brought to justice, one can easily tell that the government had a hand in this.  Even if they didn’t orchestrate themselves, I’m sure they were the ones who knowingly allowed it to happen.

Communists leaders don’t like to get their hands dirty.  Instead, they rely on gangs and criminal organizations to do their dirty work for them.  It’s a sad fact, but the Communist Party likes to use gang members as scapegoats to carry out their ends.  They condemn the actions in public, but behind closed doors, they’re getting what they want.  It’s four weeks later and the case is still unsolved.  What are the Communist police doing about all this?  Well, they’re looking into it.

Vietnamese Government Claims They Will Strengthen Power of the Press

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on January 26, 2011 by Ian Pham

The Vietnamese government has implemented a new decree that promises to give more freedom to the media.  These new provisions are designed to protect journalists that are on duty.  Under the new law, those who purposefully interfere with the work of journalists will be fined 10-30 million Vietnamese dollars (approx. $500-1500 U.S.).  The government decree will take effect on February 25 of this year.

There is reason to be optimistic about this new law, since it might represent a step towards more freedoms for people living under the Communist regime.  An idealist might argue that this is a starting point for further reforms in the system, as it gives the media more power to inform the people.  This could be a positive step, but only if the Communists follow through.  If the Communists fail to enforce this law, what difference would it make?

As one should know, Communists can twist the story in many different ways.  In some instances, they would impose false charges on unfavorable victims in order to unfairly detain them.  Other times, they would distort the story so that they wouldn’t have to comply with the law, leaving the citizens to fend for themselves.  Anyone familiar with Communists will know that the rule of law means nothing to them.  Anything that Communists do, they do for their own interests, therefore they cannot be trusted.

Another question is who the government will choose to protect.  Since Vietnam’s media is state-controlled, is out of the question to suggest that the Communists may only defend those who write in their favor and continue brutalize those who opposes them?  Maybe this is just a diversion to make the Communist government appear more humane in the eyes of the world.  Or, maybe someone really does respect power of the press and wants to give more freedoms to the people, who knows.  As I’ve stated before, actions speak louder than words, so the only thing to do is wait and see.