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 to the criminal code, especially three articles 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. The level of terror has increased significantly since the Party leadership was taken over by hardliners headed by Nguyen Phu Trong, whose control was confirmed by the five-yearly congress in January 2021. Several members of the Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) were arrested in 2020 and three were given sentences ranging from 11 to 15 years in prison. Pham Doan Trang, a woman journalist who had been awarded the RSF Press Freedom Prize for Impact in 2019, was also arrested. In all, more than 30 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 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.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



175 in 2020

Global score


74.71 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2022
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