Mid-March brought the arrest of yet another prominent blogger in Vietnam. Sixty-two year old Pham Viet Dao was arrested in June of 2013 and sentenced to fifteen months in prison on March 19th. Truong Duy Nhat was sentenced to two years in prison just weeks earlier.
Pham Viet Dao was sentenced under Article 258 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “abusing democratic freedoms.” He previously worked for the culture ministry and was targeted for his criticism of the Vietnamese state and many of its officials. He is also a former member of the Vietnam Writers Association.
Also in recent news, the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, released its list of the countries with the most jailed journalists. Vietnam ranks 5th on the list, just behind Turkey, Iran, China, and Eritrea. Vietnam has a population of 88.78 million, much less than many other developed societies, and still takes fifth on the list with 18 imprisoned journalists and dozens more imprisoned bloggers and democracy activists. Many estimate that Vietnam currently holds over 200 imprisoned activists.
For a more detailed look at how the Vietnamese government finds and handles these activists and their work, take a look at the Reporters Without Borders (RSF/RWB) post from March 13th which unearths the structure of the Ministry of Information and Communications in Vietnam and some of its inner workings.
You can aid in the call for the release of jailed Vietnamese bloggers. Join the over 32,000 that have already signed RWB’s petition.
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