Le Van Dung (Dung Vova)

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Vietnamese journalist Le Van Dung was arrested by police on June 30, 2021, on suspicion of violating Article 117 of the penal code, an anti-state provision that bars “making, storing, distributing, or spreading” news or information against the state. He was being held in detention in Hanoi in late 2021.  

Van, a freelance journalist who runs Chan Hung Nuoc Viet, a Facebook and YouTube-based outlet that covers politics, social issues, and alleged corruption and land confiscations, was arrested at a relative’s house outside of Hanoi, according to news reports

Dung, also known as Dung Vova, reported on Chan Hung Nuoc Viet about alleged corruption, land disputes, and Vietnam’s relations with China, according to a U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia report.

The outlet publishes on multiple Facebook pages, including one that has more than 12,000 followers and another that has been set to private or deleted. Dung also posted videos to the YouTube channel, Lê Dũng Vova Official, which has fewer than 200 subscribers.

The state-run Vietnam News Agency alleged that Dung’s videos “distorted and defamed the administrations and leaders of localities.”

Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Dung in late May, causing the reporter to go into hiding to avoid arrest, according to news reports. 

In March, Dung told U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America’s Vietnamese service that he had been summoned by Hanoi police on several occasions for questioning about his journalism, though he failed to appear, according to a VOA report

If charged and convicted under Article 117, Dung could face up to 20 years in prison.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the country’s prison system, did not respond to CPJ’s emailed requests for comment about Van’s legal status and treatment in prison in late 2021.