Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang was jailed for nine years after he shared a video that criticized the government. The trial comes at a time when Vietnam has been cracking down on media, which has led to increased concern about the country’s record on press freedom and human rights.
Journalist Pham Doan Trang was sentenced to nine years in prison for defaming the Vietnamese government, according to Western news outlets and human rights organizations. The sentence was longer than the prosecution’ proposal of 7-8 years, according to the Washington Post. Trang had done “nothing more than peacefully express her thoughts,” according to US State Department spokesman Ned Price, who condemned the court verdict on December 14.
During her trial in Hanoi, the 43-year-old journalist was often halted by a judge, according to the Washington Post.
Deutsche Welle (DW) reported that Judge Chu Phuong Ngoc said Trang deserved to be “severely punished” for her “dangerous” acts. The Washington Post reported that one of Trang’s five attorneys said the case will be appealed.
Objecting to the government
Trang, according to The Hill, has authored a number of pieces attacking the Vietnamese government. According to the Washington Post, she was also responsible for founding the environmental nonprofit Green Trees. According to Radio Free Asia, she earned the 2019 Press Freedom Prize from Reporters Without Borders and the 2017 Homo Homini Award from the human rights group People in Need (RFA). Trang had also enraged the Vietnamese authorities by writing a book on political activity, according to the US-funded broadcaster.
The phrase is deemed ‘outrageous.’
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Committee to Protect Journalists all posted on Twitter in response to the journalist’s imprisonment. Human Rights Watch’s Phil Robertson called the court’s decision “outrageous.” He sent a link to a Reuters piece in which he said Trang’s detention was “a searing indictment of all that is wrong with authoritarian Vietnam today.”
The journalist’s activities, according to Amnesty International’s Ming Yu Hah, “should be recognized and protected, not penalized and criminalized.” Trang’s plight, according to Ming, “is a symbol of the Vietnamese government’s brutal persecution of nonviolent human rights movement across the nation. ” Ming agreed that the journalist’s phrase was “outrageous.”
“The Vietnamese authorities’ conviction of Pham Doan Trang, a heroic journalist and human rights champion who has battled for a fair, inclusive, and rights-respecting Vietnam for years, is unacceptable.” https://t.co/94m0yLXOpx
— Amnesty International (@amnestyinternational) on December 14, 2021
“Authorities should promptly and unconditionally free journalist Pham Doan Trang and cease imprisoning independent news reporters for their work,” the Committee to Protect Journalists stated in a tweet.
“This is a dreadful conclusion in a disgusting case,” Ma Thida, the head of Pen International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said in a tweet from the group.
Vietnam’s Legal Initiatives
According to the organization’s website, liv.ngo, Trang helped initiate a project in 2014 that would ultimately become Legal Initiatives for Vietnam.
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According to the website, the NGO’s headquarters were formed in California in 2017. The objective of Legal Initiatives for Vietnam is to “create a democratic society in Vietnam via independent journalism, research, and teaching,” according to the organization’s website.
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