The United States is deeply troubled that a Vietnamese court has convicted journalists affiliated with the Bao Sach (Clean Journalism) group, Truong Chau Huu Danh, Nguyen Phuoc Trung Bao, Nguyen Thanh Nha, Doan Kien Giang, and Le The Thang, sentencing them to multi-year prison terms for “abusing democratic freedoms” under Article 331 of the Penal Code.
We understand this group of journalists focused on investigative reporting on corruption, which, of course, is not a crime. The five convictions are the latest in a troubling trend of detentions and convictions of Vietnamese journalists and citizens exercising their rights to freedom of speech and of the press, as enshrined in Vietnam’s constitution. The United States calls on the Vietnamese authorities to protect these freedoms, to release these five journalists and all those unjustly detained, and to allow all individuals in Vietnam to express their views freely and without fear of retaliation. We urge the Vietnamese government to ensure its actions are consistent with the human rights provisions of Vietnam’s constitution and its international obligations and commitments.
Press freedom is fundamental to transparency and accountable governance. Authors, bloggers, and journalists often do their work at great risk, and we urge the Vietnamese government and other governments and citizens worldwide to ensure their protection.