Over the weekend, the world learned of yet another independent voice arrested in Vietnam. Nguyen Tuong Thuy, a Vietnamese blogger who has contributed commentary for six years to Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Vietnamese Service, was detained and charged with taking action against the state.
This unveiled attempt by the government to silence its critics is reprehensible, and it should be reversed. The widespread crackdown on free speech in Vietnam is a blatant attack on human rights of Vietnamese citizens and on press freedom. And now, in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic, the free flow of information is more important than ever.
Despite this, more than two dozen journalists and bloggers are being held behind bars in Vietnam. Thuy is the fourth Vietnamese-language contributor to a U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) public service media network to be jailed in the country.
Last March, RFA contributing blogger Truong Duy Nhat was unjustly sentenced to 10 years in prison, while RFA videographer Nguyen Van Hoa continues to serve a seven-year jail term on trumped-up propaganda charges. And Voice of America contributor Le Anh Hung was arrested and charged for criticizing the Vietnamese government, and if convicted, could face up to seven years in prison.
I call for the immediate and safe release of all four USAGM network contributors currently held by Vietnamese authorities.