Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has issued a statement demanding immediate release of journalist Nguyen Hoai Nam, drop any pending charges against him, and stop jailing journalists on trumped-up anti-state allegations.
Journalist Nguyen Hoai Nam was detained in Ho Chi Minh City on April 3. An Independent journalist Nam publishes commentary and reporting on Facebook and social media platforms.
According to information, on April 10, authorities announced that he was being investigated under Article 331 of the penal code, an anti-state provision that penalizes “abusing democratic freedoms,” and carries maximum seven-year prison terms for convictions, those reports said.
On his personal Facebook page, which has about 7,800 followers, Nam recently wrote about alleged government corruption, and frequently posted criticism of Communist Party officials, according to the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia and CPJ’s review of his page. CPJ could not immediately determine which specific posts authorities cited in their allegations against Nam.
“Vietnamese authorities should immediately release journalist Nguyen Hoai Nam and drop any pending charges against him,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “If Vietnam’s government wants to be viewed internationally as a responsible actor, it must stop treating journalism as a crime, and must stop harassing members of the press over their work.”
Nam, who previously reported for state media outlets including Phap Luat (Law Journal), Thanh Nien (Youth Newspaper), and Voice of Vietnam Radio, will be held in pretrial detention at Ho Chi Minh City’s Chi Hoa Detention Center while authorities investigate his case, those news reports said.
CPJ emailed the Ministry of Public Security for comment, but did not receive any reply.
Blitz editorial board demands immediate release of Nguyen Hoai Nam
In a statement the editorial team of Blitz has called upon the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release journalist Nguyen Hoai Nam and stop all forms of harassments on him and other journalists in Vietnam.
Blitz has been vigorously confronting religious extremism and militancy since 2003. It has also been extremely vocal against repression on journalists around the world. It may be mentioned here that, editor of Blitz, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury has served rigorous imprisonment for seven years on charges of blasphemy and sedition. In recognition of his courageous stand against religious extremism, radical Islam and militancy, Shoaib Choudhury has received ‘Freedom To Write’ award from PEN USA in 2005; American Jewish Committee’s prestigious ‘Moral Courage Award’ in 2006; Monaco Media Award in 2007, alongside many other awards from various organizations in the world.