Profile

Mai Phan Loi

Current Status: Pre-trial detention

Photo of Mai Phan Loi

Other Names: Mai Phan Lợi

Date of Birth: 1971

Gender: M

Ethnicity: Kinh

Occupation: Journalist

Areas of Activism:

  • Press

June & July 2021: 

Mai Phan Loi was temporarily detained on June 24 but was not officially charged and arrested until July 2. As announced by the public security, they charged him with tax evasion, a typical method of political persecution for those for whom the government does not have a strong, clear case. However, there are now several theories concerning the political reason behind his arrest.

Details - Background, History of Activism.

Mai Phan Loi is from Thai Binh Province. He lives and works in Ha Noi. He is the founder and director of the nonprofit Center for Media in Educating Community (MEC) in Hanoi [5]. MEC has a communication channel called GTV which airs, among other things, several popular talk shows aimed at educating the community on various communication skills and techniques.

Loi was also editor-in-chief of Phap Luat, the most prominent state-run magazine focusing on the law. In 2016, he even got to meet former President Barack Obama in Hanoi. Shortly thereafter, however, his journalist credentials were revoked by the Ministry of Information and he had to resign from his position. The US State Department’s Human Rights Report for that year alleged that Loi’s forced removal was in part a retaliation for his meeting with the US president.

Loi is also the founder and the administrator of the famous Facebook group - Young Journalist Forum.

Profile picture: Mai Phan Loi at the time of his arrest. Source: Public Security of Ha Noi

Loi was not known for his political activism. However, he is well-known as a leading journalist with many years of experience and his liberal outlook and position.

Arrested June 24, 2021. Charged under Art. 200 (2015 Code).

June 24, 2021
  • Art. 200 (2015 Code)
Hanoi city public security, Hanoi
Ha Noi (map)
unknown
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention
  • liberty and security of the person
Reporters Without Borders

June & July 2021:

Mai Phan Loi was temporarily detained on June 24 but was not officially charged and arrested until July 2. As announced by the public security, they charged him with tax evasion, a typical method of political persecution for those for whom the government does not have a strong, clear case. However, there are now several theories concerning the political reason behind his arrest.

First and foremost, Loi may have been  arrested in the prolonged campaign against freedom of the press and freedom of expression instigated by the Vietnamese Communist Party. 

He is the founder of the non-profit Media in Educating Community and the 30,000 member groups called the Young Journalists Forum. These organizations have been recognized as forces  promoting free and critical thinking. In 2016, he was stripped of his press card for making an online survey about the crash of a military Casa 212 and other related military incidents. The growing civil space that he tried to create may have led to the crackdown against him. 

Others, however, believe that his arrest might be connected with Loi’s attempts to build up a connection of NGOs under the regulation of EVFTA. These organizations can play an important role in monitoring Vietnam’s obligations under EVFTA. Read our analysis here.

July 2021:

Reporters Without Borders has called for the immediate release of Mai Phan Loi on what Daniel Bastard, head of the RSF Asia-Pacific desk, calls a “trumped-up charge” and “a pretext to silence a journalist who tried to do his job to inform his fellow citizens properly.”

Profile last updated: 2021-07-21 21:29:53

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