WATCH NOW! “88 – The Repression of Cyber Dissidents”

WATCH NOW! “88 – The Repression of Cyber Dissidents”

The video is also available with Vietnamese subtitles:

The Repression of Cyber Dissidents – video release on You Tube!

88_project_posterIn todays world, millions of people use the Internet to search for information, to work, or to communicate with their families and friends. Thanks to the evolution of technology, it has become possible to connect with everyone in any place on the globe.

As an independent filmmaker, I always appreciated new possibilities for creating, sharing and presenting work to the audience by using social media and networking. I have to admit, recently I’ve become a real digital enthusiast.

I was very upset when a few months ago I heard about Vietnamese journalists and artists jailed for posting articles on their blogs, writing songs, or simply expressing their points of view through art. I couldn’t understand why some governments make a crime out of free speech. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On 18 February, we’re going to release a short video promoting The 88 Project – our special online initiative for freedom of expression in Vietnam. My desire is that the film will create a little bit of political awareness amongst people who live in free countries.

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Freedom of Speech: Overlooked and Underappreciated

because governments don't own our human rights

governments don’t own our human rights

Although all people are free to speak, not all people can speak without fear of government regulation.

In countries across the globe, citizens are discriminated against, harassed, jailed, or even killed for speaking their minds. In the United States, the government cannot restrict us from insulting a political leader, publishing an op-ed about an unfavorable issue, assembling peacefully for a cause, or even running on a ballot as a socialist. But in many other parts of the world, something as simple as forming a student organization, handing out pamphlets, or keeping a blog is enough to make you a target for censorship or even a candidate for criminal persecution.

As we speak, thousands of people from all walks of life sit in jail cells simply because they spoke up for something they believed in, something the government wanted to control, to keep hush-hush.

As a twenty-year-old college student, it amazes me that the papers I write for my classes, the comments people make in debates, the tweets on fake Twitter accounts, and the front pages of many local Bloomington publications could be enough to send someone to prison for the next ten years.

It upsets me to know also that people seem to take less interest in protecting freedom of speech than they do other human rights. All human rights are important, and all deserve to be protected.

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Intellectuals in Vietnam file public petition asking the state to respect human rights and repeal article 88


88Diễn Đàn: A call for Human Rights “recognized by the Constitution of Vietnam and the International Convention that Vietnam is a signatory” was made public on December 28, 2012. It asks the National Assembly to abolish Article 88 of the Penal Code that punishes “crimes of propaganda against the State” (numerous people have been imprisoned in the name of this Article) and also to strike out an unconstitutional decree that the government has invoked to prevent peaceful demonstrations (notably for condemning Chinese aggressive activities in the South-Eastern of Asia).

Within one week one thousand persons have signed the call initiated by well-known personalities

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Thinking of our prisoners of conscience in this holidays season

Left to right: Phan Thanh Hai, Dieu Cay, Ta Phong Tan

Left to right: Phan Thanh Hai, Dieu Cay, Ta Phong Tan

Some friends say I am funny. I do like  making joke: humor is important in life.

Sometimes you have to smile, so that you don’t cry.

I could choose to look only into happy things, to tell only happy stories. But, while we should appreciate beautiful things in life, we also should not forget that there are people who still suffer.

If everyone who has freedom and who is enjoying decent lives chooses to close their eyes before injustice, those who suffer will be forgotten. It is not fair.

This December 28th, 2012, in the middle of the holidays, the Vietnamese authorities will hold the appeal trial of my friends, three bloggers of the Freelance Journalist Club: Dieu Cay – Nguyen Van Hai, Ta Phong Tan, and Phan Thanh Hai. Earlier this year, on September 24th, the bloggers were convicted of jail sentences from four to twelves year in a show trial that lasted a few hours.

The authorities certainly did not choose the date, Friday December 28th, by accident.

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On rights, peaceful political dissent, and change

PeopleA few people told me, political dissidents are merely a minority. Not many people know them. And they risk their personal life for too little political gain.

Of course I disagree.

Hasn’t Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” ?

A minority of brave individuals who speak out and point out fundamental flaws of a political system actually contribute to challenge the boundaries of what is politically permissible. Once their voice is heard, domestically and internationally, (which means when their personal freedom actually becomes at risk), rulers don’t have choice but to re-negotiate the boundaries of political limits, and everybody benefits from the newly extended political space.

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Internet Blackout Day for Human Rights in Vietnam – December 10, 2012

profile internet blackout enWe will be joining the Internet Blackout Day for Human Rights in Vietnam this December 10, 2012.

Our human right message:

Vietnam – Stop Criminalizing Peaceful Dissent!

Please visit the Internet Blackout Day’s Facebook Event and share your human rights message for Vietnam! 

The 88 Project – Statement

88It’s the 21st century. We who live in free societies often take for granted our democratic freedoms. Some of us don’t even know that in many countries in the world people still continue to struggle for their basic civic rights.

In the Socialist Republic of Vietnam there are hundreds of prisoners of conscience who have been detained only because their political opinions are different from the dominant ideology of the regime. The one-party state continues to deprive its citizens of their human freedoms, introducing rigid laws and employing capital punishment.

The 88 Project aims to support freedom of expression and peaceful political dissidence in Vietnam. It takes its name from one of the repressive provisions of Vietnam’s criminal code that are routinely used to persecute innocent people. Article 88 makes it a crime to “propagate” against the Socialist Republic with imprisonment sentences ranging from three to twenty years.

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