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Vietnam

Two Vietnamese journalists face jail time for broadcasting to China

The Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam sentenced two broadcasters for a combined five years in prison for illegally transmitting programming to China on the morning of Nov. 10, according to the Epoch Times. The radio station’s programming reported on the Chinese government’s attempts to quell the Falun Gong religious practice.

Vu Duc Trung was sentenced to three years prison and Le Van Thanh to two years. Both, who practice Falun Gong, were arrested June 11, 2010 after the Chinese government discovered the broadcasts and put pressure on the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security to take action on May 30, 2010, the report said.

The broadcasters were found guilty for violating the Article 226 of the criminal code, which prohibits “transmitting information illegally into the telecommunications network,” the report said.

“This conviction is harsh and outrageous,” Reporters Without Borders said. The press freedom organization had urged the Vietnamese government to release Trung and Thanh after the Sound of Hope Network, the radio station where the two reporters worked, was last harassed by the government, according to a previous Reporters Without Borders report.

The Epoch Times reported that Trung and Thanh had been broadcasting from the Sound of Hope Network to China since April 2009. Tran Dinh Trien, the broadcasters’ lawyer, said both reporters’ verdict could also be reached under Postal and Telecom Law Provision 1, Article 64 for broadcasting without a license, according to the Epoch Times.

However, Trien said the issue of the reporters’ affiliation with the Falun Gong practice did not substantiate the verdict, according to the report.

“There is no Vietnamese law that bans Falun Gong, and there is no Vietnamese law that bans broadcasting information about Falun Gong,” Trien said. He also said there is no law against Falun Gong in China either, the report said.

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