Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

Online activist gets 15 years in jail for posting dissenting opinions

17 September 2013

Reporters Without Borders called on Vietnam to overturn the conviction of a 65-year-old blogger who was sentenced to 15 years in prison after criticizing the communist government.

Ngo Hao was arrested Feb. 8 in the south-central province of Phu Yento after writing articles and distributing documents that were critical of the government, local newspaper Tuoi Tre News reported.

The blogger was accused of using non-violent means to promote a revolution similar to the Arab Springs uprisings and working with a dissident group called Bloc 8406 that wants a multi-party democracy.

Hao was convicted of breaking an article of the Vietnam Penal Code that forbids carrying out activities to overthrow the people's administration.

Vietnam has jailed more than 40 bloggers and activists this year in the midst of a rise of online dissent that has intensified over the past three years, Radio Free Asia reported.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Vietnam 172nd out of 179 countries in its press freedom index and has called on the country to release all the online dissidents who have been imprisoned. The international community has criticized the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for its treatment of people critical of the government. The European Union also voiced concern during a meeting held in Hanoi on Sept. 11.

Hao’s son said he is worried about his father’s health and his wife published a letter to the United Nations secretary-general asking for the international community’s help.

To bring attention to the jailing of Vietnamese bloggers, the Franco-Vietnamese association is organizing a march in France at the end of September when the Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is visiting the country. The march will start 212 miles away from Paris and will work its way into the French capital, Reporters Without Borders reported.

By Maria Jose Valero. 

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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