State violence v. bloggers and journalists
As Vietnam’s media all follow the Communist Party’s orders, the only sources of independently-reported information are bloggers and independent journalists, who are being subjected to ever-harsher harsh forms of persecution, including plainclothes police violence. To justify jailing them, the Party resorts increasingly to articles 79, 88 and 258 of the criminal code, under which “activities aimed at overthrowing the government,” “anti-state propaganda” and “abusing the rights to freedom and democracy to threaten the interests of the state” are punishable by long prison terms.
Following the takeover of the party leadership by hardliners headed by Nguyen Phu Trong, the level of terror has risen sharply in the past three years, with many bloggers being jailed or expelled in connection with their posts. Around 25 journalists and bloggers are now held in Vietnam’s jails, where mistreatment is common. Meanwhile, as Vietnam’s citizens become increasingly engaged online, the authorities have been refining their digital repressive methods, with the army creating a 10,000-strong military cyber-warfare department called “Force 47,” which is tasked with defending the Party and targeting dissident bloggers. Under a new cyber-crime law that took effect in 2019, foreign online platforms are required to store their Vietnamese user data on servers in Vietnam and surrender it to the authorities when required.
176 in 2019
74.93 in 2019