Jailed Vietnamese journalist garlanded by press freedom group – The Diplomat
Beat ASEAN | Company | South East Asia
Pham Doan Trang is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for “propaganda against the state”.
Imprisoned Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang has received yet another honour, being named last week as one of the recipients of the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a US-based press freedom advocacy group.
CPJ named Trang as one of four winners of a statement on July 14, alongside Niyaz Abdullah from Iraqi Kurdistan, Abraham Jiménez Enoa from Cuba and Sevgil Musaieva from Ukraine. The organization said all four have “withstood immense challenges, including government repression, assault and imprisonment to get the public to report independently amid widespread misinformation and endemic war”.
Trang was arrested in Ho Chi Minh City in October 2020, and later loaded under Article 117 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for making “propaganda against the state”. In December last year, she was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison, the sentencing judge arguing that his work was “dangerous to society” and had been carried out with “the intention of violating the socialist system”.
“Our honorees exemplify the best in journalism: work that shines a light on the impacts of war, corruption, and abuse of power on daily life,” CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg said in a statement. statement marking the announcement of the winners. “We look forward to honoring these inspiring journalists, who demonstrate the central role journalism plays in serving the public good.” The four winners will be honored at CPJ’s annual awards ceremony on November 17.
Trang is one of a small group of individuals undertaking the personally risky business of independent journalism in Vietnam, for which his efforts and sacrifices also earned him the 2022 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in Vietnam. January. She was co-founder of the dissident blog Luat Khoa Tap Chi (Journal of Law) and has contributed to several other independent outlets, including The Vietnamese, an independent English-language website, and the exile-run blog Danlambao.
For years before her arrest, Trang spoke out on a range of issues relating to human rights, democratic rights and environmental protection. She was particularly critical of the government’s official narrative of the high-profile land dispute in the village of Dong Tam in northern Vietnam, which resulted in the death sentences of two brothers and 27 other villagers to prison terms of following a violent clash with police in January 2020.
His arrest is emblematic of a sharply repressive turn in Vietnam, which has seen dozens of dissident politicians, journalists and bloggers convicted for challenging, implicitly or not, the Vietnamese Communist Party’s monopoly on power. CPJ says Trang is among at least 23 journalists held behind bars for their reporting in Vietnam, making the country the fourth highest digit journalists imprisoned from any nation in 2021.
Last month, a Vietnamese court sentenced award-winning environmentalist Nguy Thi Khanh to two years in prison, after convicting her of tax evasion. His sentencing, which is only the latest of four environmental and civil society activists to be charged with taxes, demonstrates the Vietnamese government’s persistent desire to safeguard its political monopoly and its broad indifference to the state of international liberal opinion.