Every single newspaper, radio station, and television broadcast in Vietnam is officially controlled by the Vietnamese Communist Party or government. But thanks to social media and news outlets based outside the country, Vietnamese citizens are increasingly gaining access to independent sources of news.
Faced with a rapidly changing media landscape, Vietnam’s authorities rely on a combination of restrictive laws, Internet controls and outright repression to stifle the free flow of information. Vietnam is second in the world only to China in the number of jailed netizens.
Given the economic impacts of a stifled Internet, online censorship is not only a human rights issue but increasingly a business issue. The business ramifications of Internet censorship have increasingly come to the forefront as the U.S. and Vietnamese governments negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
In marking World Press Freedom Day, join bloggers from Vietnam and other experts working to expand freedom of expression for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in promoting a free media in Vietnam.
Vietnam-based bloggers and digital activists*
Le Thanh Tung (freelance journalist and digital activist)
Ngo Nhat Dang (freelance journalist and contributor to the BBC Vietnamese section)
Nguyen Dinh Ha (blogger and digital activist)
Nguyen Thi Kim Chi (actress, director and playwright)
To Oanh (blogger and former contributor to state-owned newspapers)
Scott Busby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Do Hoang Diem, Chairman, Viet Tan
Libby Liu, President, Radio Free Asia
Brett Solomon, Executive Director, Access
Meredith Whittaker, Program Manager, Google
*Highlighting the challenges faced by Vietnam’s online community, Hanoi authorities blocked three of the invited activists from traveling: Pham Chi Dung, a writer and civil society advocate, had his passport arbitrarily confiscated in February and until now, has been banned from traveling; Nguyen Lan Thang, a blogger, was stopped at Hanoi Noi Bai Airport and prevented from boarding his flight on April 5; and Anna Huyen Trang, a citizen journalist for Vietnamese Redemptorists’ News, was stopped at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport on April 13 and physically harassed by security police.
Date and time: Thursday, May 1st Time: 12:00 – 2:00pm (lunch will be served from 12:00 – 12:30pm) Location: Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St NW (Suite 300), Washington, DC. RSVP
The US State Department is “deeply concerned” by the Vietnamese authorities’ decision to uphold the conviction of human rights lawyer and blogger Le Quoc Quan to 30 months in prison on tax evasion charges.
Quan was previously arrested in 2007 for three months on his return from a five-month Reagan-Fascell fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.