Death threats un­able to stop jour­nal­ists

Viet Nam News - - FRONT PAGE -

Two jour­nal­ists re­ceived death threats ear­lier this week for re­port­ing on an al­leged park­ing racket at Long Bieân mar­ket, the big­gest whole­sale mar­ket in Haø Noäi.

Nguyeãn Thò Lieân from Viet­nam Tele­vi­sion (VTV) and Thu Trang from

(HCM City Women) were warned to stop their re­port­ing or they and their fam­i­lies would be killed.

This is not the first time such threats to re­porters have made head­lines in re­cent years.

More than 50 cases of re­porters fac­ing threats or vi­o­lence have been recorded over the past five years.

In 2016, an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist from the (Labour) news­pa­per re­ceived mul­ti­ple in­juries af­ter be­ing beaten by three men wield­ing sticks near Kim Vaên-Kim Luõ Res­i­den­tial Area in Hoaøng Mai Dis­trict.

In 2017, a re­porter from (In­spec­tion) news­pa­per was as­saulted while col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to il­le­gal ore ex­ploita­tion in cen­tral Thanh Hoùa Prov­ince.

In March this year, a re­porter work­ing for Trans­port) news­pa­per was beaten by a group of men and de­tained for two hours while he was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the sus­pected il­le­gal night­time ac­tiv­i­ties of a bar in cen­tral Ñaø Naüng City. He was beaten so badly, he suf­fered an in­ner skull wound and se­vere fa­cial trauma.

In many cases, au­thor­i­ties took steps to deal with these in­ci­dents, but of­ten the pun­ish­ment hasn’t been enough to de­ter such crimes.

Vi­o­lence against jour­nal­ists still hap­pens. As­saults on re­porters are in­creas­ing in terms of quan­tity and the level of threats. And apart from re­porters, vi­o­lence has also been threat­ened on their fam­ily mem­bers.

In the Long Bieân mar­ket case, Prime Minister Nguyeãn Xuaân Phuùc on Wed­nes­day asked the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity to in­ves­ti­gate the death threats and pun­ish those found to have threat­ened the jour­nal­ists. He also asked for mea­sures to pro­tect jour­nal­ists and those re­port­ing crimes.

The Peo­ple’s Procu­racy of Haø Noäi has ap­proved a re­quest by the In­ves­tiga­tive Po­lice Agency to launch le­gal pro­ceed­ings against three peo­ple for al­legedly ap­pro­pri­at­ing as­sets as part of in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sus­pected il­le­gal park­ing fee at Long Bieân mar­ket.

Threat­en­ing or at­tack­ing a jour­nal­ist on duty car­ries a fine of VNÑ20- 30 mil­lion ( US$ 8601,280) and 3-5 years in prison.

We al­ready have clear pun­ish­ments. How­ever, there re­mains a dis­tance be­tween the laws and re­al­ity. The pros­e­cu­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion of these as­saults is of­ten im­ple­mented slowly or im­prop­erly.

Last month, the world cel­e­brated the In­ter­na­tional Day (Novem­ber 2) to End Im­punity for Crimes against Jour­nal­ists.

So far this year, 86 jour­nal­ists have been killed world­wide, ac­cord­ing to UNESCO. Be­tween 2006 and 2017, 89 per cent of mur­der cases con­cern­ing jour­nal­ists were un­solved, a wor­ry­ing mes­sage for free­dom of the press.

Jour­nal­ists help fight cor­rup­tion and speak for the voice­less. The price many of them pay for do­ing this is fac­ing dan­ger on a daily ba­sis, and if they fall silent, who will speak truth to power?

In the case of Long Bieân mar­ket, the Gov­ern­ment and au­tho­rised agen­cies took prompt ac­tion and hope­fully that means those in­volved will be strictly pun­ished.

It is high time more ef­fec­tive pro­tec­tion mea­sures are em­ployed to en­cour­age jour­nal­ists to work and fol­low their pas­sion.

Se­ri­ous crimes against jour­nal­ists must be in­ves­ti­gated thor­oughly and lead to harsher sen-

(HCM City Women) news­pa­per who re­ported on il­le­gal park­ing fees at Long Bieân mar­ket are rem­i­nis­cent of brave war­riors.

Few re­porters have dared to look into cases like this, as the risks are great. But Lieân and Thu Trang are well-known as ‘steel roses’ of the press for their work ex­pos­ing crime. With­out their brav­ery, many il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties would not be un­cov­ered.

An ex­poseù by VTV in late Septem­ber re­ported an il­le­gal park­ing fee that hun­dreds of mer­chants were forced to pay mar­ket porters to un­load their cargo. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, each merchant had to pay at least VNÑ200,000 (US$9) per ve­hi­cle each day, with the fee as high as VNÑ350,000 for a big truck.

As the big­gest whole­sale mar­ket of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts in Haø Noäi, Long Bieân mar­ket hosts roughly 1,000 mer­chants, of which at least 300 reg­u­larly need park­ing space to un­load cargo. A merchant told VTV she paid VNÑ100 mil­lion last year to se­cure a park­ing space. That means the il­le­gal park­ing pay­ments could amount to at least VNÑ30 bil­lion (nearly $1.3 mil­lion) a year.

Thanks to ef­forts of the two jour­nal­ists, three porters at the mar­ket will be pros­e­cuted on charges of ap­pro­pri­at­ing as­sets.

The re­porters said that be­fore de­cid­ing to in­ves­ti­gate Long Bieân mar­ket, they had fore­seen po­ten­tial dan­ger. But they still de­cided to carry out their re­port­ing with the hope of bring­ing jus­tice for mer­chants at the mar­ket.

Last year, the global job­search por­tal Ca­reerCast rated news­pa­per re­porter and broad­caster the two worst ca­reers in the US. The study looked at the 200 most com­mon jobs and ranked them based on salary, ex­pected job growth, level of com­pe­ti­tion, de­gree of stress and safety haz­ards.

To be jour­nal­ists, par­tic­u­larly in­ves­tiga­tive ones, re­porters face po­ten­tial dan­gers on a day to day ba­sis. How­ever, such threats don’t dis­cour­age these war­riors from re­port­ing.

Trang posted on her Face­book that she was very scared when she re­ceived death threats in the past. But she’s not scared any­more.

“I burst into tears, the tear of hap­pi­ness, to know that three sus­pected porters work­ing at the Long Bieân mar­ket will be pros­e­cuted. I feel very happy be­cause jus­tice is be­ing done,” she said. — VNS

Noâng thoân Ngaøy nay

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Viet Nam

© PressReader. All rights reserved.