31 Dec 2008

Vietnam's Bloggers Face Government Crackdown

In Vietnam, a country where the communist government has controlled the media since North and South Vietnam were reunified in 1975, blogging has become a growing — and risky — new forum for political dissidents to spread information about social abuses and government corruption. The new generation of blogs covers everything from criticizing top ranking officials for chartering planes to monitoring labour violations. Before this month, no formal blogging or Internet restrictions were in place, but several cyber dissidents — such as Huynh Nguyen Dao, Nguyen Bac Truyen and Le Nguyen Sang — have been arrested for posting anti-government propaganda online.

The government regularly shuts down politically sensitive blogs, and to avoid arrest, some bloggers have taken to writing under pseudonyms. "They have to use their nickname, and different computers so they can post the article," says Thanh Trang Nguyen, president of the California-based Vietnam Human Rights Network. And even so, he adds, "They disappear."

Vietnam's Bloggers Face Government Crackdown - TIME