Anti-corruption Journalist Nguyen Hoai Nam Arrested, Charged with “Abusing Democratic Freedom”

Nhà báo chuyên viết bài chống tiêu cực bị khởi tố và bắt giam

Anti-corruption activist Nguyễn Hoài Nam


Defend the Defenders, April 4, 2021


Vietnam’s state-controlled media has reported that on April 2, authorities in Ho Chi Minh City arrested anti-corruption journalist Nguyen Hoai Nam on the allegation of “abusing democratic freedom” under Article 331 of the country’s Criminal Code.

Mr. Nam, 48, will be held in detention in the next three months and he faces imprisonment of between three and seven years in prison if is convicted.

He has worked for a number of state-run newspapers such as Phap Luat Viet Nam, Thanh Nien, and the Voice of Vietnam Radio (VOV). He left Phap Luat Viet Nam newspaper in December last year and became a freelancer.

Before being detained, Nam posted a series of articles on his Facebook account regarding wrongdoings and corruptions in the Vietnam Inland Waterway Administration (VIWA) of the Ministry of Transport. On March 23, he sent an open letter to Le Minh Tri, head of the Supreme People’s Procuracy in which Nam denounces the cooperation between the police forces and procuracy officials which led to crime covering in a number of cases, including the corruption case in the VIWA.

In February, the journalist who gained his reputation as a corruption fighter, was summoned by HCM City Police Department for interrogation as two state officials denounced that his corruption allegation is not correct.

Nam has been the second journalist of the state-controlled media being arrested since the beginning of this year for their anti-corruption activism. In mid-February, authorities in Quang Tri province arrested Phan Bui Bao Thy for his denunciation against senior officials in corruption, two of them are a deputy minister and the province’s chairman.

Vietnam is among the world’s biggest prisons for journalists and Facebookers, holding 28 of them in police custody, according to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s report released on December 1, 2020. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also listed Vietnam among the global biggest prisons for journalists with 15 journalists being imprisoned.