Jun 26 2013

Vice: Vietnam Won’t Stop Locking Up Its Bloggers

Newswire | Published 26 Jun 2013, 11:15 am | Comments Off on Vice: Vietnam Won’t Stop Locking Up Its Bloggers -

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Vietnam is not a good place to be a blogger. At least, it’s not a good place to be a blogger if you actually want to write what’s on your mind. In the last month or so, three bloggers have been arrested for criticizing the communist government, or—as Vietnamese authorities deftly put it—”abusing democratic freedoms” by posting their opinions online. While that charge might seem like a bit of a paradox, their prospects post-arrest aren’t looking great. On May the 16th, another blogger, Dinh Nguyen Kha, was sentenced to ten years in jail for “distributing anti-State propaganda” and “deliberately causing injuries”.

Those arrests are just one of the issues that spurred former US congressman Joseph Cao into calling Vietnam, “The worst violator of human rights in Southeast Asia” (and that’s including Burma, a country where the Rohingya Muslim minority are being systematically wiped out, allegedly with tacit approval from the government). Other issues worthy of some credit for that title include outlawing political opposition to the one-party state, repressing dissidents, severely restricting freedom of expression and arresting, imprisoning and torturing peaceful activists.

Alongside all that intimidation, there’s also the side issue of relentless propaganda to put up with as you go about your day. Whether you’re watching TV, surfing the internet, or simply walking down the street, Vietnam’s propaganda push is ubiquitous. In the capital city of Hanoi, the government rhetoric starts at around 6:45 AM, blasted out of loudspeakers once used to warn locals about impending American airstrikes.

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