Vietnam: Government harasses two journalists

New York, April 20, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the harassment of Vietnamese journalists Duong Phu Cuong and Nguyen Huy Cuong, who were detained and interrogated on the morning of April 17 at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport.

They were released later the same day, and it’s unclear if Vietnamese authorities will file formal charges against the two.

Duong Phu Cuong, a veteran journalist with the Vietnamese-language Tuoi Tre daily, and Nguyen Huy Cuong, a freelance journalist, were scheduled to depart for a freedom of expression seminar in the Philippines when they were led away by plainclothes officials, who claimed that they had violated departure laws, an eyewitness told CPJ.

Duong Phu Cuong, 52, who writes under the pen name Do Minh Dan, has been under heavy police surveillance and, in recent months, was summoned by police several times for questioning, according to information provided by the Free Journalists Association of Vietnam (FJAV), a press freedom group. He had recently reported critical news concerning official corruption and other social issues considered sensitive by Vietnam’s censorious government, according to FJAV.

“We call on Vietnamese authorities to stop harassing journalists such as Duong Phu Cuong and Nguyen Huy Cuong,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “Vietnam’s government should strive to uphold rather than undermine the press freedom rights detailed in Article 69 of the constitution.”