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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid