Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Predators of Press Freedom: Vietnam - Nguyen Phu Trong

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 3 May 2011
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Predators of Press Freedom: Vietnam - Nguyen Phu Trong, 3 May 2011, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Nguyen Phu Trong, Communist Party general secretary, Vietnam

The Vietnamese Communist Party congress that was held from 10 to 19 January 2011 ended with Nguyen Phu Trong being elected as the party's new general secretary. This former head of the conservative faction has spent his entire career in the state apparatus including, from 1967 to 1996, spells as an editor and then editor in chief of Tap chi Cong San, the Communist Party's theoretical organ, which helps to develop the party's ideology.

Although Trong has not yet achieved the distinction of his predecessor, who had more than 100 years in jail terms given out to bloggers, dissident writers and critics in the space of just a few months, his first few months in office have been promising. His score card includes a seven-year jail sentence for the dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu on 4 April 2011 on a charge of anti-state propaganda, just for defending a multi-party system in comments posted online and in foreign media.

At total of 18 netizens are currently detained in Vietnam just for calling for democracy and a multiparty system. Nguyen Dan Que, a 69-year-old independent journalist is facing the possibility of imprisonment for calling for demonstrations inspired by the Middle East's pro-democracy movements. Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest and human rights activist, could be sent back to prison because of his activities as an online journalist. Trong has the power to bypass the prime minister and president and impose censorship and arrests, defying the international community's recommendations.

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