CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Shawn W. Crispin

CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn W. Crispin is based in Bangkok, Thailand, where he has served as a journalist and editor for over 15 years. He has led CPJ missions throughout the region and is the author of several CPJ special reports.

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   |   Malaysia

Dogged by fraud allegations, Malaysia targets media

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, denies allegations that he received money from a state investment fund for personal use. (AP/Joshua Paul)

Investigative reporting on alleged mismanagement of a Malaysian state investment fund has triggered a backlash against muckraking media. On Friday, the Home Ministry ordered the suspension of two local news publications, The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, for three months on the grounds that their reporting on the fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), had prejudiced public order, security, and national interests, according to news reports. The suspension came into effect today.

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   |   Indonesia

Widodo's lifting of ban on foreign media in Papua is step in right direction

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced over the weekend that his government would allow foreign journalists to report unrestricted from the country's eastern Papuan provinces, breaking a virtual 50-year blackout of international news coverage of the restive region. The announcement raises the prospect of an independent media check on one of Asia's most under-reported civil conflicts between the Indonesian state and Free Papua Movement rebel group.

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.

Blog   |   Myanmar

Burma clampdown gathers pace as legislation passed

In a clear step backwards for press freedom in Burma, new legislation will give the government censorship powers and the sole authority to issue and revoke news publication licenses. While the legislation enshrines into law broad press freedom guarantees, specific provisions will give the Ministry of Information ultimate power over what news is permissible for publication.

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