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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More