Vietnam Communist party takes tough stand against critical journalists

Hanoi: Vietnamese Communist Party authorities are to fire two editors at a national newspaper that published articles critical of the government’s policy, sources at the paper said yesterday.

“We have received the Party’s decision to punish us,” said Dang Ngoc, vice editor-in-chief of the newspaper Dai Doan Ket (Great Unity). “The decision said that we had violated Vietnam’s press law.”
Dai Doan Ket is the voice of Vietnam’s Fatherland Front, a powerful patriotic organisation affiliated with the Communist Party.

Ngoc said he and editor-in-chief Ly Tien Dung had been notified of the decision by Fatherland Front Secretary General Vu Trong Kim.

The decision reportedly says the paper violated the press law by publishing three stories that conflicted with government and Communist Party policies.

In early 2007, the paper published a piece by Christian priest and Fatherland Front member Nguyen Thien Cam advocating making the Front independent of the Communist Party.

In November 2007, the paper ran a letter written by war hero General Vo Nguyen Giap, opposing plans to build a new National Assembly building on a site where archaeological remains of Hanoi’s ancient citadel were discovered, leading to months of dispute over the new building in local media.

Finally, an opinion piece by veteran journalist Thai Duy in February argued that the “foreign” character of Soviet-style socialism embraced by Vietnam’s National Assembly in 1975 had alienated the Vietnamese people from the Party.

Vietnam’s government disclaimed responsibility for the firings, saying it was Fatherland Front’s decision.
“We did not intervene,” said vice minister Do Quy Doan of the Ministry of Information and Communications, which oversees Vietnam’s media.

Fatherland Front official Nguyen Van Vinh refused to comment.

“I don’t think the decisions are fair,” said a Dai Doan Ket reporter who declined to be named. “They just aimed to punish brave journalists who dared to point out Vietnam’s social injustices and government authoritarianism.”

The firings at Dai Doan Ket come two weeks after a Vietnamese court sentenced reporter Nguyen Viet Chien to two years in prison, and fellow reporter Nguyen Van Hai to two years of “re-education without detention,” for reporting on a major corruption scandal. – DPA

Vietnam halts plan to ban short and flat-chested motorists

HANOI (AFP) — Communist Vietnam has suspended a much-criticised plan to ban very short, thin and flat-chested people from driving, state media reported on Wednesday.

The new draft guidelines on motorcycle and car drivers had drawn widespread criticism and ridicule from motorists, newspaper readers and bloggers since they were published by the health ministry two weeks ago.

Under the 83-point plan, people shorter than 1.5 metres (4.9 feet), lighter than 40 kilogrammes (88 pounds) or with a chest circumference of less than 72 centimetres would no longer qualify for new drivers’ licences.

The proposal worried many in this nation of slender people and spurned jokes about traffic police with tape measures enthusiastically flagging down female motorcyclists, and predictions of a run on padded bras.

The justice ministry has asked the health ministry to temporarily suspend and review the plan, the Vietnam News daily reported.

“After receiving public opinion about the decision, the health and transport ministries agreed there had to be changes,” senior health department official Tran Quy Tuong was quoted as saying by the state-run daily.

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gyStZ3ojlFERiRMCe8rH_IDMu4TQ

5 killed in Vietnam floods

HANOI – AT LEAST five people have been killed in floods triggered by heavy rains in central Vietnam, emergency services said on Wednesday.

The dead included two children who were swept away when they tried to cross swollen rivers on their way home from school.

Three deaths were reported from Ha Tinh province and one each in Nghe An and Quang Nam provinces, the National Flood and Storm Prevention Committee said.

Dozens of homes have had their roofs blown off, hundreds of hectares of crops are damaged, and landslides have cut roads to two Quang Ngai mountain districts, reported the state-run Vietnam News Agency.

Vietnam’s central region, which suffers a series of typhoons and storms every year, has again been hit by heavy rains since Friday. Rivers were still swollen on Wednesday although the rains had eased, officials said.

Last year, Vietnam was hit by seven major tropical storms or typhoons which triggered floods and landslides that left 435 people dead and missing, the government’s General Statistics Office said. — AFP

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/SE%2BAsia/Story/STIStory_296102.html

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.