Vietnamese reporter beaten unconscious for
investigating illegal logging
Reporters Without Borders
October 2, 2019
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Vietnamese authorities to identify
and punish the clandestine loggers who gave a journalist a severe beating after
he discovered a large hoard of illegally-felled precious woods near Pleiku, the
capital of Gia Lai province, in Vietnam’s central highlands, on 26 September.
A reporter for
the official legal affairs magazine Tapchi
Luatsu Vietnam (“Vietnam Lawyers’ Gazette”), Kieu
Dinh Lieu was hospitalized with cerebral haemorrhaging and
concussion after being beaten unconscious by his three assailants.
for a media outlet allied with Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, Lieu has
specialized in covering local corruption and, in recent weeks, had been covering
illegal logging and trafficking in precious woods in Gia Lai.
the attack, he called the provincial water and forestry agency to report the
presence of three trucks loaded with illegally-felled timber. The
Lao Dong reported that, after beating him unconscious,
his attackers destroyed his car in order to eliminate any recording he might
have might made.
investigating corruption and illegal logging, Kieu Dinh Lieu acted in the
Vietnamese public’s interest,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s
Asia-Pacific desk. “The beating he received is all the more shocking because
Vietnamese journalists must constantly make concessions to state propaganda
requirements. We urge the authorities to ensure that those responsible for this
attack do not go unpunished.”
“Only one editor”
In the absence of
editorially independent media outlets, Vietnamese journalists must fight to do
professional reporting and to get the resulting stories published.
Pham Doan Trang, a
journalist who won RSF’s Prize for Impact less than a month ago and
who began her career working for the official media, said this about press
freedom in Vietnam in
a video sent to RSF: “Here we have about a thousand ‘official’ media
outlets but only one editor, the head of the Communist Party’s propaganda
Vietnam has been
languishing for years near the bottom of RSF's
World Press Freedom Index and is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the 2019