Vietnam-Blogger Fired - Newspaper dismisses reporter over blog entry critical of Soviet Union



    MONTREAL, Aug. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns
reporter Huy Duc's dismissal by the governmental daily Sai Gon Tiep Thi on 25
August for posting criticism of the Cold War-era Soviet Union on his personal
blog.
    "The sole aim of this arbitrary and ideological dismissal was to extend
the reach of the censorship already exercised over all the governmental
press," Reporters Without Borders said. "We hope that news and information
websites will continue to display their characteristic vitality and
outspokenness and that their spirit of resistance will not be undermined."
    One of the newspaper's editors, Tran Cong Khanh, said Huy Duc was fired
because of what he had posted online. Huy Duc confirmed in his blog that he
had been dismissed and, indicating that he encountered this kind of problem in
the past, said he did not want to give up journalism.
    In the offending entry in his blog (http://www.blogosin.org/) on 23
August, Huy Duc referred to the Berlin Wall as a "Wall of Shame," condemned
the former Soviet Union's "purges" in East Germany, and called the Soviet
Union "an occupation force (...) that deprived people of their basic rights."
    His blog, which is very popular in Vietnam, tackles sensitive issues with
an openness that is extremely rare in a state media journalist and his firing
is unquestionably part of a campaign to crackdown on blogs that criticise the
government.
    Tran Cong Khanh denied that Huy Duc's dismissal was the result of
government pressure, but the Communist Party's Propaganda and Education
Committee had complained about a hundred or so articles published online and
in Sai Gon Tiep Thi.
    The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is one of the 12 countries that
Reporters Without Borders has identified as "Enemies of the Internet." It was
ranked 168th out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press
freedom index.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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