Vietnam detains journalist over Facebook posts – DW – 06/08/2024 – "facebook" – Google News

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security on Saturday said police had arrested a journalist and a lawyer for “abusing democratic rights” by posting articles on Facebook.

One of the men, journalist Truong Huy San, was detained over posts that “violate the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals”, the ministry said.

While Vietnam has introduced sweeping economic reform and is increasingly open to social change, its ruling Communist Party retains tight media censorship.

What we know about the arrests

Former reporter Truong Huy San and lawyer Tran Dinh Trien were accused of “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the state”, the Vietnamese government said in a statement.

The offense carries the possible tariff of two to seven years in prison.

San and Trien were accused of posting articles that infringed on both the interests of the state and the interests of organizations and individuals.

Their Facebook accounts disappeared from view less than a week ago, which prompted concerns they might have been arrested.

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The statement on Saturday said police had searched the homes of both men and added that further investigation was underway. 

Who are the men?

The 62-year-old former senior lieutenant San, also known by his pen name Huy Duc, also worked for several influential newspapers in Vietnam before he was fired.

The dismissal came after his blog became one of the most popular in authoritarian Vietnam. It was strongly critical of government media control, relations with China, and corruption.

Duc had taken a swipe at Vietnam’s new president To Lam shortly before he was arrested. He also criticized Nguyen Phu Trong, the communist party general secretary — and the most powerful individual in Vietnam’s political system.

News of San’s detention came from the closely-knit community of online Vietnamese dissidents. San had been due to attend a small public event in Hanoi a week ago but failed to appear.

Trien is a former deputy director of the Hanoi Bar Association and has taken part in many high-profile legal cases. State media said his arrest was related to commentary about the government that he had posted on Facebook.

According to the 2024 World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders, Vietnam is ranked at 174th out of 180 countries and territories in terms of media freedom. 

rc/rmt (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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