Vietnam’s imperiled bloggers – The Listening Post (Feature)

Since the reunification of North and South in 1975, the Communist Party has ruled Vietnam – and state’s control over the media is near-absolute.

However Vietnam’s bloggers are putting that control to the test. They’ve been challenging mainstream media outlets, pushing them to cover topics and issues the Communist Party has declared off limits. Blogs, messaging apps and Facebook carry stories that would otherwise have gone untold. And the bloggers are finding a ready-made audience. There are more people online in Vietnam than any other country in Southeast Asia.

Bloggers have also attracted the attention, and ire, of the authorities. Facing a mix of old laws and new ones, intimidation and closed trials, many have been disciplined, silenced and put away. Last year alone, 18 bloggers and activists were jailed.

Contributors:
Tran Le Thuy, director, Centre for Media Education & Consultancy
Shawn Crispin, senior southeast asia representative, Committee to Protect Journalists
Nguyen Van Hai, exiled Vietnamese blogger

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In This Story: Vietnam

Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers.

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