News VietnamAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsOnline freedomsMedia independence Judicial harassmentImpunityPredatorsFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalistsInternet RSF laureates support jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang Help by sharing this information April 27, 2021 Find out more Blogger Tran Thi Nga (R) in an anti-China rally in Hanoi, 2012. She was sentenced to 9 years in jail on July 2017. photo : Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by a sudden increase in the persecution of dissidents by Vietnam’s authoritarian one-party state. Seven bloggers and citizen-journalists have been arrested in recent weeks and two have been given long jail terms. In a country where nationalist fervour is essential for the regime’s survival and the government’s failings must not be mentioned, citizen-journalists who raise these issues are regarded as enemies of the nation.In the past two weeks alone, five people have been arrested on charges of “attempting to overthrow the government” or “anti state activities” under article 79 of the penal code. All are facing the possibility of a death sentence because of what they posted.They include four former prisoners of conscience – bloggers Pham Van Troi and Nguyen Trung Ton, journalist Truong Minh Duc and human rights lawyer Nguyen Bac Truyen – who were arrested on 30 July.They are accused of being in contact with Nguyen Van Dai, a fellow member of the Brotherhood of Democracy, an association of former prisoners of conscience. Dai was himself arrested in December 2015 on a charge of “propaganda against the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” under article 88 of the penal code.Blogger Le Dinh Luong was meanwhile arrested by plainclothes police in the central province of Nghe An on 24 July, as he was about to visit the wife of Nguyen Van Oai, a human rights defender and citizen journalist who has been detained since 19 January.Luong is from one of the regions affected by a toxic spill from a Taiwanese-owned steel plant in April 2016 and often wrote about it on Facebook. A war veteran, he also wrote about China’s 1979 offensive against Vietnam.“We firmly condemn the arrests and sham trials of the past few weeks,” RSF said. “Thanks to new technology, citizen-journalists in Vietnam are able to able to write about developments and describe the country’s reality in a lively manner very different from the state propaganda.”“These arbitrary arrests call for an effective reaction from the international community, which must press the Vietnamese authorities to release the detainees and stop harassing citizen-journalists.”New hope for autocratsVietnam is cracking down harder on freedom of information for several reasons, sources have told RSF. Upheavals in the international arena resulting from the election of new leaders, including Donald Trump in the United States, have given the Vietnamese government more room for manoeuvre.While the previous US administration respected Vietnam’s sovereignty by limiting its interventions in its domestic affairs, it was nonetheless a leading advocate of human rights and sought to promote them.Trump’s election has ended this and, according to Jonathan London, a leading academic specialist in Vietnam, it has played a significant role in the sudden crackdown. Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has without a doubt also removed a reason for Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party to improve respect for human rights.The divided Party’s most conservative sectors are trying to use the situation to get the upper hand by tightening their grip on the news and information circulating within the country. Anyone posting articles that reflect badly on the government is punished severely, especially at a time of renewed tension between Vietnam and China over the exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea.Bloggers who refer to China’s domination of the region are often harassed, attacked or prosecuted, as was the case with Pham Minh Hoang, a dissident who was recently expelled.Bloggers also often refer to the government’s mishandling of the environmental disaster caused by the toxic spill from the Taiwanese-owned Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation plant in Ha Tinh province in April 2016.More than a year has elapsed since the disaster and the Party had expected the criticism to have died down. But, in their fight for democracy and the freedom to inform, citizen-journalists have refused to drop the issue. The government now clearly wants to shut them up once and for all.Dissident bloggers who anger the Party are often beaten up. The blogger Tran Thi Nga was among those who were the victims of physical violence before she was arrested and then sentenced on 25 July to nine years in prison on a charge of “anti- state propaganda.”The mother of Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a blogger sentenced to ten years in prison in late June, reports that Quynh’s health is worsening in detention and that the prison authorities refuse to give her the medicine that her family is sending.Nga is meanwhile being subjected to “disciplinary measures” in prison, which probably include isolation in the most appalling conditions, a cruel technique often used in an attempt to purge dissidents of their ideals.Vietnam is ranked 175th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. to go further August 4, 2017 – Updated on August 23, 2019 Vietnam : Why is the Party cracking down harder on bloggers? Three more independent reporters arrested in Vietnam Receive email alerts April 7, 2021 Find out more April 22, 2021 Find out more VietnamAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalistsOnline freedomsMedia independence Judicial harassmentImpunityPredatorsFreedom of expressionCitizen-journalistsInternet Organisation Vietnam sentences journalist Tran Thi Tuyet Dieu to eight years in prison News News News RSF_en Follow the news on Vietnam
State testing could be expanded if necessary, officials said.Carey thanked Cuomo for granting the water district access to conduct sampling and stated he looks “forward to continuing to work with New York State to protect Massapequa’s water wells.”The Massapequa Water District has maps charting the plume’s path spanning more than two decades.Local and state officials have feuded for years as to how to contain the plume and protect water supplies, with officials from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) even supporting “post-wellhead treatment” for a time—allowing wells in the hazardous chemicals’ path to first become contaminated, then receive treatment.Critics panned the contamination-first strategy and demanded extraction wells to stop the spread of the toxic plume before it contaminated more public drinking water supplies and ultimately, the Great South Bay.In his statement, Schumer accused the Navy and Northrop Grumman of “stonewalling” the water districts in their attempts to test wells.The Navy has an agreement with the state DEC that calls for it to actively track down and remediate hot spots in the plume.Residents in the impacted areas are forced to deal with the effects of disposal practices dating back to World War II by the former aerospace and weapons manufacturer, previously known only as Grumman.Grumman was credited with helping the allies win the war, but its handling of waste has since come under scrutiny.In 1983, the 600-acre Grumman Aerospace-Bethpage Facility Site was listed in the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in New York State. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Rashed Mian & Christopher TwarowskiGov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the US Navy and Northrop Grumman to provide the state and a local water district access to monitoring wells so it can test for potential contamination caused by a toxic underground plume.Samples from the so-called “Grumman Plume”—the subject of a 2012 Long Island Press investigative multimedia report exposing its continuous southward journey and disastrous public health ramifications—will be tested for hazardous carcinogens by both the state and Massapequa Water District, Cuomo’s office announced Wednesday.“There have been too many questions about the extent of contamination caused by this plume and residents are frustrated with the lack of answers from the Navy and Northrop Grumman,” Cuomo said in a news release.New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said testing of wells is “just what the doctor ordered” for residents in Massapequa, Bethpage, and South Farmingdale—communities where the plume has threatened water supplies.The news may provide some relief to residents and water district officials who’ve been lobbying the state for years to act. The plume is essentially a 4.5-mile long by 3.5-mile wide cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals which has been traveling south-southeast unabated for decades. The underground plume first crossed Hempstead Turnpike years ago and is currently on the verge of creeping past the Southern State Parkway.As recently as last November Massapequa Water District President Stan Carey wrote a letter to the US Navy and Northrop Grumman asking permission to sample monitoring wells to test for the “correlation between the TCE in the monitoring wells and the TCE emanating from” the plume. TCE is short for Trichloroethylene, which is classified as a human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.As part of the state’s plan, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation will collect groundwater samples from monitoring wells in order to test for potential contaminants through a process called compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA), officials said. The Massapequa Water District will conduct its own independent analysis.