CTNLT | 29/7/2014
Re: The Vietnam government prevented former PoC Pham Ba Hai from attending “Seminar: Non-state media in contemporary Vietnam” in Hanoi.
– Mr. Hugh Borrowman, Australian Ambassador and Representatives of the EU, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States in Hanoi.
– Mr. Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner of Australia.
Former Vietnamese Prisoners of Conscience (FVPoC) warmly welcomes the spirit of the seminar content “Non-state media in contemporary Vietnam” which will take place on July 30, 2014 at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, co-organized by the EU, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States.
Written journalism (print and online) role as an important bridge between the state and citizens. It has political implications depending on the degree of freedom to write an investigative, report, etc … to bring to light all the hidden, abuse of power and injustice. So in order to protect the apparatus of authoritarian governance with serious violations of fundamental human rights, the authorities systematically strictly maintain comprehensive censorship on the press. Direct censorship through editors’ board and reporters are responsible for what they wrote and posted. Indirect censorship includes the direction and steering of the party grassroots, education for reporters on the rectitude of the party’s policies, etc.
The entire concentration of media authority in the VCP hand has created a one-way flow of information to reinforce their political agenda, and to serve their interests. Heresies “non-state” are “illegal,” “not objective” and “false”. There are currently over 30 writers, bloggers behind bar because of the censorship and policies silencing dissents, including Dieu Cay Nguyen Van Hai, Ta Phong Tan, Paulus Le Son … and recently Truong Duy Nhat, Pham Viet Dao, Anh Ba Sam Nguyen Huu Vinh.
There have been so many sacrifices to claim freedom of information in Vietnam. There have been so many papers and ink speaking of the immense hardships that the relatives of prisoners, and as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, it is time the Vietnam government needs to implement and respect the right to freedom of peaceful expression of political dissent of its citizens.
Seminar on “Non-state media in contemporary Vietnam” is a good sign in the situation of non-state media constantly being suppressed. PoC Pham Ba Hai, coordinator of the FVPoC was honored with an invitation to join the seminar.
However, at noon of July 29, 2014 on his way from home to the Tan Son Nhat airport to go to Hanoi, Pham Ba Hai was blockaded off by a group of policemen and plainclothes agents. They said that Pham Ba Hai was not allowed to leave home for this seminar, if Hai abided then return home, otherwise, would be forced into the police station by invitation letter that they sent in the early morning of the same day.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is an illegally serious infringement to the right to freedom of domestic movement of citizen Pham Ba Hai. The ban without any document except policemen and security forces, including Political Protection Bureau (PA 67), Investigative Agency of HCMC (PA 72), Hoc Mon district security agents and local policemen.
Earlier, Pham Ba Hai had also been banned from leaving home when Mr. Heiner Beiderfeldt, UN Rapporteur on freedom of religion arrived Saigon on July 25, 2014. The FVPoC’s Co-Chairman – Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, along with Pham Chi Dung and Duong Thi Tan also prevented out of home.
The process of creation of non-governmental organizations of the masses and gradually formed civil society is an essential one, and Vietnam also accepted the UPR recommendations to create favorable conditions for civil society activists who can exercise freedom of assembly and of expression. On the contrary, after Pham Ba Hai got passport on July 9, 2014, his passport was seized again by PA 72. Conditions for re-obtaining a passport and then going to India to continue his doctoral program, pending when he was arrested in 2006, is withdrawal and termination from member of FVPoC and Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN).
Within the scope of non-state media, multi-dimensional information and recognition of the right to freedom of assembly and association are the inevitable milestones, the FVPoC urged the Australian Ambassador together with Representatives of the other diplomatic corps, who are organizers of this seminar, continue to open many similar seminars, to help clarifying the right of the people to access multi-dimensional information.
Thereby, the Vietnam authorities release all those who have been tried under article 88, article 258 and the relevant provisions in the criminal code of the SRV as well as disable Decree 72 and other bylaws restricted this right.
Vietnam, July 29, 2014.
The FVPoC’s Standing Steering Board:
– Co-Chair: Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, Catholic Priest. Phan Van Loi
– Chairman of Advisory Council: Ven.Thich Khong Tanh
– Coordinators: Pham Ba Hai (MBE), Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai
– Spokesman: Pham Chi Dung (Ph.D.)
Translation by Trang Thien Long