News / Asia

    Vietnam Reporters Promised Answers After Land Protest Beating

    Marianne Brown
    HANOI - Vietnamese authorities have promised to respond to two reporters who said they were beaten by uniformed police at a land protest last month on the outskirts of Hanoi. Video images of the alleged beating have spread like wildfire across the Internet.

    Nguyen Ngoc Nam and Han Phi Long, both journalists at state-run radio station Radio Voice of Vietnam, went public this week with allegations that they were attacked as they watched farmers protest land clearance for a new satellite city in Hung Yen province.

    Amateur video of alleged beatings


     
    A week after Voice of Vietnam sent an official document to Hung Yen's Public Security Department demanding answers, a report in Tuoi Tre newspaper said provincial communist party leader Bui Huy Thanh has promised to hold a meeting with the journalists to discuss the alleged attack.  
     
    Witnesses at the scene on April 24 said about 1,000 policemen used tear gas to disperse 3,000 protesting farmers. State-run media reported that 20 people were arrested.
     
    In interviews with local media, Nam said he repeatedly told his attackers that he was a journalist but they continued to hit him and twist his arms. He was then handcuffed and taken into custody.
     
    Anti-corruption activist Le Hien Duc was at the protest and says she believes the clips on the Internet of the attack on the two men are real. The level of violence was shocking, she says, adding she saw with her own eyes police beating farmers at the protest like rats.
     
    The incident comes just a few months after Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung praised the media for detailed coverage of a separate incident when a farmer used land mines and guns to fend off a land eviction in Hai Phong province. The incident drew national headlines and a tide of public sympathy for the farmer's stand.
     
    When it came to the protest in Van Giang, however, reporting was markedly muted.
     
    Some local journalists said they had been given guidance not to include key details about the event, including how many protesters were there and the reaction from police.
     
    Media analyst Le Ngoc Son from the Institute of Information Technology and Media says the video clips have disturbed the public.
     
    "If this clip is real, the actions of the police have made the viewers feel discontented," said Son.  "Obviously, this is the behavior of hooligans, but the behavior of the ones who should be protecting the law."

    In Hai Phong, local reporters dug up valuable information on the land eviction which led to a high-profile investigation into corruption. It is not yet clear whether the new wave of coverage related to the incident outside Hanoi will reap something similar.
     
    At the center of the protest outside the capital is a planned satellite city, which covers 500 hectares.  It is being lauded as an important development project, providing jobs and better infrastructure for the capital. However, that has been tainted by the level of force used to control the protesters and the lack of open media coverage.  
     
    In the short term, Son says the alleged beating of the two journalists highlights the need to protect on-the-scene reporters.
     
    "Journalists need to be protected not only in words but in real action," Son added.  "If the story is absolutely like the report of the two VOV reporters press freedom is now seriously violated by the security powers."

    Local authorities and Voice of Vietnam are expected to hold talks next Wednesday about the incident. However land rights activists worry that the fate of the 20 farmers arrested at the protest will not receive the same attention as the journalists.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.