We Will Not Be Silenced – Bloggers and the Human Rights Movement in Vietnam

reportIn this briefing paper, Civil Rights Defenders highlights the rapid spread of information and communications technology (ICT) in Vietnam, its transformative and empowering impact on human rights activism and access to information, and the government’s repressive response to Internet based activism.

Since the founding of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1975, the country has been under uninterrupted one-party rule. Print and broadcast media are under effective state control and authorities exercise prior and post-publication censorship. Over the years, the Government of Vietnam has introduced policy and administrative measures, and invoked repressive provisions under domestic law, to criminalise and impose overly broad limits on peaceful expression online and offline.

Activists and unauthorised civil society groups and networks face grave risks of state repression and reprisals for their peaceful human rights work and advocacy. Bloggers and other Internet activists, an increasing number of whom are women, have faced surveillance, arbitrary detention, physical and cyber attacks, criminal prosecution, and imprisonment. Despite repressions and restrictions, Civil Rights Defenders is encouraged to witness the growth of human rights networks within civil society in Vietnam during the last five years, which is partly fuelled by opportunities made possible by the expansion of ICT in Vietnam.

Greater inter-connectivity has challenged the government’s monopoly on information and countered its attempts to isolate and weaken civil society groups and activists. Empowered by the Internet, bloggers, citizen journalists and civil society groups in Vietnam, many of them human rights defenders, now have far greater reach to the public and can mobilise public opinion on an unprecedented scale.

Increasing access to the Internet and other ICT tools has also contributed to the lowering of the level of isolation and fear among activists, and enabled them to strengthen their ties with the international community and expand their networks and collaborations with fellow human rights defenders and human rights groups inside and outside of Vietnam.

Civil Rights Defenders calls on Vietnam to end its persecution of bloggers, human rights defenders and other peaceful activists, to amend or repeal repressive legislations, and take positive steps to ensure genuine protection of all human rights in compliance with international human rights law and standards

We also call on Vietnam’s key partner countries and ICT companies to take proactive steps to challenge censorship and ensure the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights in Vietnam.

Read our report about bloggers and the human rights movement in Vietnam: We will not be silenced

Categories: Reports.
Tags: Bloggers.
Regions: Southeast Asia and Vietnam.