Truong Duy Nhat, 49, is a leading blogger in Vietnam who has been challenging the government on its authoritarian laws. The Communist government has now responded by arresting him for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state.” This truly Orwellian charge could result in a seven year sentence for the blogger.
Vietnam has been emerging as a strong economic country in the region with rising tourism numbers from the West. At the same time, many intellectuals in the country have been pushing for greater freedoms. The arrest of Truong Duy Nhat shows that the government remains committed to its authoritarian past.
His alleged “abuse of democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state” is an almost comical charge if it were not so serious for him and his fellow citizens. The Vietnamese government fails to appreciate the irony in claiming that the use of free speech is an abuse of democratic freedom. In this case, Nhat’s abuse was his writing a blog with the innocuous title “A Different Viewpoint”. It is precisely the fact that it is different that makes it abusive for the authoritarian government.
Nhat has the guts in April to call for the resignation of the country’s top leadership in light of economic and political unrest in the country.
All newspapers and television in the country are state-run and controlled by the Communist system. Indeed, Nhat once worked for a state-run publication but resigned to become a fulltime and independent blogger. The blogosphere has become the greatest outlet for free expression in the country — precisely why the government is moving to deter bloggers with the arrest of Nhat.
Source: Raw Story