RSF – Reporters Sans Frontières (Author)
Reported by several state media outlets, Le Van Dung’s arrest in the capital, Hanoi, on 30 June was confirmed by his wife on 1 July.
Better known by the journalistic pseudonym of Le Dung Vova, Dung is the founder and presenter of Chan Hung Nuoc Viet TV (CHTV), an online TV news channel available on Facebook Live, YouTube and other social media, in which he interviewed members of the public and commented about such matters as corruption and illegal land expropriation – both sensitive issues for the authorities.
The Hanoi police went to his home to arrest him on 25 May but he was not there at the time and went into hiding until finally arrested last week under article of 117 of the Vietnam’s penal code, which punishes the dissemination of “information, documents, items and publications opposing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” and carries a possible 20-year jail term.
“We demand the immediate release of Le Van Dung, who has joined the long list of Vietnamese journalists imprisoned simply for trying to provide their fellow citizens with reliable information,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “The Vietnamese authorities display their complete contempt for the rule of law by flagrantly violating article 25 of the country’s constitution, which proclaims freedom of the press.”
General secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and head of its politburo since 2011, Nguyen Phu Trong is the driving force behind the much harsher line that the government has been taking for the past five years and, as such, has rightly been included in the gallery of press freedom predators that RSF published today.
Vietnam is ranked 175th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.