Vietnam Jails another Human Rights Blogger
Freedom House condemns Vietnam’s sentencing of blogger and human rights activist Truong Duy Nhat on March 4 to a two-year prison term, and calls on the government of Vietnam to overturn his conviction. His imprisonment represents a blatant attack on free speech and independent media in the country.
Arrested May 26, 2013 in connection with blog posts critical of the Vietnamese government, Truong Duy Nhat faced charges of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state." Nhat previously worked as a reporter for state-run news outlets but in 2011 created a blog that has regularly criticized government officials.
Nhat is the latest victim of Vietnam’s recent crackdown on independent news sources. In a similar case, prominent human rights blogger Le Quoc Quan was arrested and charged with tax evasion in December 2012, after publishing articles critical of authorities on his website. In February 2014, an appeals court upheld his 30-month jail sentence, despite widespread international condemnation.
Freedom of expression is severely curtailed in Vietnam. The country was rated Not Free in the Freedom of the World 2013, Freedom of the Press 2013, and Freedom on the Net 2013 reports. Harassment of cyber-activists in Vietnam has been on the rise since 2008, with the government engaging in a targeted campaign against critics, a crackdown on blogs and social media, and the harassment and detention of independent bloggers and their families.