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Vietnam 21 January 2005

Monthly Nha Bao va Cong Luan suspended after two issues

Reporters Without Borders condemned the suspension of the monthly Nha Bao va Cong Luan, which was reportedly ordered to cease publishing in mid-January 2005.

The decision, taken by the ministry of culture and information, has not been made public.

The worldwide press freedom organisation criticised the Vietnamese authorities for suspending a publication if its investigations proved embarrassing. "In this country where the authorities view the media as propaganda vehicles, we deplore the censorship inflicted on the press when it reflects popular discontent," it said.

Reporters Without Borders learned on 18 January that Nha Bao va Cong Luan had received an order to cease publishing just a few days earlier. The reason for the order was unknown but in its first two issues that appeared in November and December 2004 it carried investigations involving influential figures and some business circles.

One investigation focused on a major tourist development near a well-known beach at Vung Tau in the south of the country in which local people were quoted as objecting to the expensive project which they said would be harmful to the environment.

The investigation also highlighted corruption among the local elite and their protection of those in charge of the project.

In the past few weeks, the Vietnamese government has slapped bans on a number of publications, in particular news websites, or ordered them to tow the line. Read the press release.

Reporters Without Borders also repeated its appeal for the release of Journalist Nguyen Dinh Huy and four cyberdissidents, Nguyen Dan Que, Nguyen Vu Binh, Pham Hong Son and Nguyen Khac Toan, who are still in prison.

In this country
20 February - Vietnam
Government frees cyber-dissident while keeping online activities under strict control
19 January - Vietnam
Government announces early release of journalist Nguyen Viet Chien
5 December - Vietnam
Leading blogger’s conviction upheld on appeal
15 October - Vietnam
Newspaper reporter’s two-year sentence deals severe blow to press freedom
10 September - Vietnam
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