Vietnam Among Top 10 Countries for Detained Journalists: RSF 2023 Report


Ayesha Mumtaz - BNN Breaking

December 22, 2023 

In its annual report for 2023, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has named Vietnam among the top 10 countries worldwide with the highest number of detained journalists. The nation currently holds 36 independent journalists, including 20 bloggers, behind bars. Alongside China, Myanmar, and Belarus, Vietnam accounts for more than half of the 521 journalists detained worldwide, a total of 264.

Press Freedom in Vietnam

Vietnam’s freedom of press is strictly controlled by the Communist Party’s agencies, with independent journalists and bloggers consistently targeted. RSF’s ranking places Vietnam among the top five countries posing the highest risk to journalists. The report also highlights the case of journalist Nguyen Lan Thang, sentenced to eight years for ‘anti-state propaganda’ in April 2023, the harshest sentence given to any journalist in Vietnam this year.

Detention Conditions and Response

The report not only discusses the arrests but also touches on the systematic mistreatment and denial of medical access to imprisoned journalists. The hunger strikes of detained journalists Pham Chi Dung and Le Trong Hung, protesting their detention conditions, serve as stark examples of this issue. The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to respond to VOA’s request for comment on the RSF 2023 summary report.

International Implications

The RSF report also criticizes the Vietnamese government for the 2.5-year sentence given to political commentator Le Minh The for ‘abusing democratic freedoms’. It calls on democracies worldwide to pressure Vietnam to release him, along with all other detained journalists and press freedom advocates. RSF’s 2023 Press Freedom Index ranks Vietnam at 178 out of 180, near the bottom of the list. This ranking has been contested by the official People’s Police Newspaper of Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, claiming it to be biased and misrepresentative of press freedom in the country.




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