Vietnam Threatens ‘Serious’ Punishment for Bloggers

Posted September 13th, 2012 at 6:15 am (UTC-5)
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Vietnam's government has ordered a crackdown on three blogs who it says published “distorted and fabricated” material against the country's Communist Party leaders.

An online government statement says Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered police to investigate the blogs, vowing that perpetrators will be “seriously punished.”

Government employees have been forbidden from visiting the so-called “anti-government” websites, which the statement referred to as “a wicked plot of hostile forces.”

The blogs have recently featured stories, mostly from anonymous contributors, highlighting cases of alleged government corruption, human rights abuses, and sensitive political rivalries.

One of the blogs, known as Dan Lam Bao — or Citizen Journalists — vowed to continue operations, despite the government threats. The site reported receiving a record 32,000 visits in the hour after the prime minister's announcement was read on state television.

The international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders says at least five journalists and 19 bloggers are being held on various charges in Vietnam, as part of efforts to stifle criticism of the government.