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Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Venezuela

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1997
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1996 - Venezuela, February 1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5651fc.html [accessed 21 October 2014]
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.

A CPJ delegation – consisting of board members Peter Arnett and Rick MacArthur, as well as Vikram Parekh, CPJ's program coordinator for Asia – visited Vietnam and Cambodia in September 1996 for a series of breakthrough discussions with senior government officials and local journalists about press freedom conditions. The delegation's findings in Vietnam are covered extensively in a special report on p. 183.

Vietnam's Communist Party Congress in June left the country in a holding pattern. The Congress reinstated Vietnam's ruling triumvirate – General Secretary Do Muoi, President Le Doc Auh, and Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet – for another five-year term, ending months of political tension leading up to the Congress that reflected a major struggle between hard-liners and reformists. The government in 1995 jailed dissidents for their writings and launched an official campaign against "social evils," a euphemism for Western cultural influences. In the end, neither conservatives nor reformists had enough political strength to gain a decisive advantage over their rivals, and Vietnam was left with the status quo, a careful balancing act of regional, institutional, and ideological interests. The regime is sticking with its formula of limited economic liberalization coupled with stringent controls on civil liberties.

For local and foreign journalists in Vietnam, this means the continued risk of breaching the ill-defined boundaries of acceptable reporting. Three state-owned newspapers were investigated for allegedly disclosing state secrets in their coverage of business deals between Vietnam and foreign corporations. Officials ordered correspondent Adam Schwarz of the Far Eastern Economic Review to leave Vietnam in November. And Ly Chandara, an ethnic Vietnamese journalist who edited and published an anti-Hanoi newspaper in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was expelled from Cambodia to Vietnam, then imprisoned there for seven months. Chandara returned to Cambodia after being released.

The three dissident writers who were jailed in 1995 – Do Trung Hieu, Hoang Minh Chinh, and Nguyen Xuan Tu – were all released in mid- and late 1996 after serving their terms.

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