(VNRN) – Three Vietnamese bloggers have been honored on Apr 29 as “Information Heroes” by Reporters Without Borders on the occasion of the upcoming World Press Freedom Day. They are Anton Le Ngoc Thanh, Pham Chi Dung, and Truong Duy Nhat.
This years marks the first time that Reporters Without Borders, known by its French acronym RSF, publishes a list of profiles of “100 Information Heroes.”
“These ‘information heroes’ are a source of inspiration to all men and women who aspire to freedom. Without their determination and the determination of all those like them, it would be simply impossible to extend the domain of freedom,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire.
Truong Duy Nhat (Trương Duy Nhất) is the only one of the three currently in prison, convicted under Article 258 of the Penal Code. He’s a former journalist for state-owned media, but resigned in 2010 and became a prolific and outspoken blogger. In the space of three years, Nhat posted more than 1,000 articles on his blog “Another Point of View,” most of them his own writing.
“After four orders to close his blogs,” RSF noted, “he was finally arrested in May 2013 and sentenced to two years in prison in connection with 12 of his most vitriolic articles. Seven months before his arrest, he wrote: ‘I am neither a criminal nor a reactionary. The handcuff and gun should not be used against bloggers who sacrifice their interests to keep outspoken blogs that are helping to change the party and the people.’”
Anton Le Ngoc Thanh (Lê Ngọc Thanh) is a Catholic priest who works for Vietnam Redemptorists’ News (VRNs), and his work has caused him numerous problems with the Vietnamese authorities. “Thanh is under constant police surveillance and is frequently prevented from covering and publicizing the human rights abuses that he has witnessed.”
Pham Chi Dung (Phạm Chí Dũng) is a former Communist Party member who, having “seen nomenklatura corruption up close, returned his party card.” The RSF noted that Dung “was arrested on charges of ‘conspiring to overthrow the government’ and ‘anti-government propaganda’ in July 2012 in connection with articles about corruption and the government’s shortcomings, but the investigation was abandoned and he was released seven months later.” His passport was confiscated as he was about to board a flight to Geneva in February to attend the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of Vietnam’s human rights records.
The list of “100 information heroes” comprises women and men of almost all ages (25 to 75) and 65 nations. The youngest, Oudom Tat, is Cambodian and the oldest, Muhammed Ziauddin, is Pakistani.
“World Press Freedom Day, which Reporters Without Borders helped to create, should be an occasion for paying tribute to the courage of the journalists and bloggers who constantly sacrifice their safety and sometimes their lives to their vocation,” Deloire said.