Vietnam’s Most Popular Blogger Arrested, Government Infects Site With Malware!

Trong Duy Nhat
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), One of Vietnam’s most popular bloggers, Trong Duy Nhat, was arrested by police on Sunday in Da Nang and taken to Hanoi by plane.

The RSF report explains that Nhat was arrested “on a charge of ‘abusing democratic freedoms in order to infringe upon the interests of the state, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens’ under article 258 of the criminal code.”

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the government are also said to have infected Nhat’s blog, ‘Another point of view’ with malware, so anyone who is curious over the arrest and wants to see what all the fuss is about ends up with a vicious computer virus for their troubles!

What makes Nhat’s case even more interesting and alarming, is that for many, his views weren’t even considered to be that incendiary. For over a decade, he wrote for 2 state-run newspapers, before resigning in 2010 to devote his time to his blog!

I mean, it shouldn’t make any difference what sort of views a blogger is expressing, they should be entitled to freedom of expression, however the fact that the Vietnamese authorities have arrested and charged someone who doesn’t exactly share reactionary views is particularly disturbing!

His blog does however cover a range of sensitive subjects and encourage debate. In a recent post, he called for the General Secretary and the Prime Minister to stand down and said immediate economic, social and political reform was necessary and it seems that this was enough to make him an ‘enemy of the state’.

In October, he wrote about being arrested several times by the police and the interrogation tactics they used upon him.

He stated: “I am neither a criminal nor a reactionary. There is nothing propagandistic or reactionary about the articles I post on ‘Another point of view.’ The police investigations, summonses and interrogations should be targeting reactionaries, anti-patriots and the interest groups gathering in banks, these insects who devour the people.”

Nhat is not the only blogger to face criminal charges and jail time however and unfortunately many others have been arrested. According to RSF, 33 bloggers are currently in custody and on May 23rd an appeals court upheld sentences for 5 bloggers that ranged from 4 to 13 years imprisonment. The RSF ranks Vietnam as 172nd out of 179 countries on the Press Freedom Index!

About Sheniz Raif

I am, and think I have always been, a writer. I’ve been scribbling stories since I was old enough to hold a pen and thoroughly enjoy using my words to make people laugh or inspire them. I love going to gigs and am a professional groupie for a couple of awesome bands. I am an avid fan of socializing, football, film, and refusing to grow up! I’m also a proud member of the BODO UK team!