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Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Vietnam

Poor trade-off: Jailed journalists released into exile as Vietnam pushes for weapons deal

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai arrives in Los Angeles in October 2014 after being released from jail and forced into exile. The U.S. says trade deals will depend on human rights but press freedom conditions remain poor in Vietnam. (AFP/Robyn Beck)

In September, Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan was released after serving three years of a 10-year prison term and was immediately flown to Los Angeles. In October 2014 Tan's colleague Nguyen Van Hai, whom she co-founded the Free Journalists Club with in 2007 and who was also imprisoned for his work, followed the same route.

Blog   |   Vietnam

US-Vietnam strategic partnership must be contingent on press freedom

Secretary of State John Kerry and Communist Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on August 7. The U.S. and Vietnam are working on a strategic partnership. (Reuters/Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool)

Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Vietnam was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the former adversaries. While Kerry's speech during his three-day tour emphasized the need for Hanoi to improve its rights record to deepen bilateral ties, it is time Washington dispensed with vaulted rhetoric and predicated future economic and strategic engagement on the release of jailed journalists.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Q&A: Ta Phong Tan's sister calls for release of ailing and jailed Vietnamese blogger

Ta Phong Tan, third from left, was a founding member of the Free Journalists Club of Vietnam. (Nguyen Tien Trung/Flickr)

As an independent blogger, Ta Phong Tan often highlighted abuses in Vietnam's justice system. Now as a prisoner of conscience serving a 10-year sentence for "propagandizing against the state," an anti-state offense under Article 88 of Vietnam's criminal code, she is suffering under the same abusive system she once critiqued and exposed.

July 20, 2015 1:24 PM ET


Blog   |   Vietnam

Dieu Cay on solitary confinement, hunger strikes, and his fight for press freedom

EDITOR'S NOTE: Held in solitary confinement and stripped of his human rights, Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai suffered greatly during his six and a half years in prison. The 63-year-old outspoken critic of the repressive Vietnamese government was granted early release from a 12-year sentence last year, thanks in part to campaigning by CPJ. Hai, who writes under the name Dieu Cay (Peasant's Pipe), was awarded CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2013. Here, he gives a grim account of life as a political prisoner and pledges to use his new-found freedom to continue his fight against injustice.

Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, who was jailed for more than six years for his critical writing, is living in exile in the U.S. (AP/Richard Vogel)

Blog   |   Vietnam

Jailed Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan on hunger strike over mistreatment

Incarcerated blogger Ta Phong Tan has been on hunger strike since May 13 to protest the mistreatment of political prisoners at the prison where she is being held in Vietnam's central Thanh Hoa province, according to news reports. It is believed to be the third time Tan has fasted in protest at poor prison conditions since she was detained in September 2011 for her critical reporting.

Blog   |   Vietnam

In Vietnam, arrests dash hopes that crackdown on bloggers will end

Protesters in Hanoi hold up pictures of jailed bloggers and activists in May 2014. Hopes that authorities would end the repression of bloggers have faded with the arrest of three more writers. (Reuters/Nguyen Huu Vinh)

What one hand gives, the other takes in Vietnam. Last October's early release of jailed blogger Nguyen Van Hai, more commonly known as Dieu Cay, has proven to be an anomaly as authorities have subsequently ramped up their repression of other independent bloggers.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Undercover in Vietnam: Room for debate frees up but bloggers remain imprisoned

In the final part of CPJ's "Undercover in Vietnam" series on press freedom in Vietnam, Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin reveals how prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai remains behind bars for his critical writing despite the margin for debate opening. The series concludes with recommendations for the Vietnamese government and international bodies.

Petitions calling for the release of Nguyen Van Hai are scattered across a table at the CPJ International Press Freedom Awards. Hai is serving a 12-year sentence for blogging. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for Committee to Protect Journalists/AFP)

Incarcerated for the past six years in poor prison conditions, Nguyen Van Hai has suffered dearly for his critical views on China. First detained on trumped up tax evasion charges in 2008, and subsequently convicted in 2012 on anti-state charges for blogging, 62-year-old Hai is currently serving a 12-year jail term that his family fears could be a death sentence in view of his declining health.

September 30, 2014 10:44 AM ET


Blog   |   Vietnam

Undercover in Vietnam: Exile is high price reporters pay for press freedom

In the third of CPJ's four-part "Undercover in Vietnam" series on press freedom in Vietnam, CPJ Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin interviews a reporter living in exile after challenging the censorship imposed in newsrooms. The final part, to be published Tuesday, reveals how prominent bloggers remain behind bars despite the margin for critical debate opening. The series concludes with recommendations for the Vietnamese government and international bodies.

Newspapers are stacked on a Ho Chi Minh City street. The country's state-run press is heavily censored, reporters say. (AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

On December 9, 2012, mainstream journalist and sometimes blogger Pham Doan Trang was arrested while reporting on an anti-China protest in Ho Chi Minh City. She was taken to a rehabilitation camp for commercial sex workers, where she was interrogated by a group of seven officials.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Undercover in Vietnam: Reporters become martyrs for their paper's cause

In the second of CPJ's four-part "Undercover in Vietnam" series on press freedom in Vietnam, CPJ Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin reveals the persecution faced by Redemptorist News journalists, who have been jailed, harassed, and had their passports revoked for reporting on human rights. In part three, due to be published Monday, Crispin interviews a journalist forced into exile after highlighting censorship in Vietnam's press.

Catholics attend Mass in Ho Chi Minh City in 2007. An online newspaper set up by priests and activists reports on the plight on this religious minority. (AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

In a church compound in the bustling heart of Ho Chi Minh City, journalists and editors upload the latest online edition of Redemptorist News in a secret backroom bureau. First established in 1935, the Catholic newspaper was shut down by the ruling Communist Party in 1975 after consolidating its control over the country's once divided northern and southern regions.

September 26, 2014 10:28 AM ET


Blog   |   Vietnam

Undercover in Vietnam: Bloggers play risky game of cat-and-mouse to report

In the first of a four-part "Undercover in Vietnam" series on press freedom in Vietnam, CPJ Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin explores the risks bloggers take so they can cover news events and protests. Under near-constant surveillance and with the threat of arbitrary detention hanging over them, the desire for an independent press drives Vietnam's bloggers to continue to write. In part two, to be published Friday, Crispin reveals the persecution faced by Redemptorist News journalists. Parts three and four will be published next week.

An anti-China protest in Vietnam in May. Bloggers who cover rallies risk being imprisoned under anti-state charges. (AFP/VNExpress)

When Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh left her home in the central coastal city of Nha Trang to cover anti-China protests a 10-hour bus ride away in southern Ho Chi Minh City, the prominent blogger disguised her appearance to evade plainclothes officials stationed nearby to monitor her meetings and movements.

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