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VietnamNong Duc Manh
Secretary-general of the ruling Communist Party

(JPEG) He is one of the architects of the relentless crackdown on opposition groups and dissident publications in Vietnam. Two journalists and around 15 cyber-dissidents have been sentenced to long prison sentences since January 2007. They include Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly, who was given an eight-year term on a charge of “propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” for launching an underground magazine called Tu do Ngôn luan (Free Expression) in the central city of Hue. When one of those who helped him, Nguyen Phong, was given a six-year sentence, he told the judge: “I will continue to fight for the values of freedom and democracy.” Nong Duc Manh has decided to use every means possible to silence the human rights and pro-democracy activists who got together to form Bloc 8406 and who have defied the government by launching two underground magazines that are distributed abroad and clandestinely within Vietnam. Regarded as an economic reformer, he also distrusts the Internet and had several people arrested in 2007 for demanding more democracy on online forums.

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There are instigators and powerful people behind press freedom violations whose responsibility is not always apparent. Whether presidents, ministers, chiefs of staff, religious leaders or the heads of armed groups, these predators of press freedom have the power to censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and, in the worst cases, murder journalists. To better expose them, Reporters Without Borders has produced these portraits.

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