In Vietnam, the press is subjected to a system of prior censorship supervised by the propaganda department, while the authorities hound independent bloggers and citizen-journalists, often sentencing them to long jail terms and subjecting them to terrible violence. Despite this persecution, several sites such as Dan Lam Bao continue to defend the public’s right to information.
Launched in July 2009 and blocked by the Vietnamese authorities ever since, Dan Lam Bao allows Internet users to share their views freely and offers content of a diverse nature provided by people from all social classes. Its contributors include independent bloggers, traditional media journalists and whistleblowers inside the government.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued an order in September 2012 accusing Dan Lam Bao of “publishing false, fabricated and mendacious information with the aim of defaming the nation’s leaders, stirring up the population against the party and state, provoking doubts and creating bad publicity, thereby undermining the people’s trust in the state.” The order asked the public security ministry to investigate and punish anyone affiliated to Dan Lam Bao.
As a result, many contributors post under pseudonyms to avoid arrest or retaliatory harassment of their families.