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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid