April 23, 2024

Press Freedom


Vietnam October 5, 2005

H.E. Tran Duc Luong
Office of the President
1 Hoang Hoa Tham
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Fax: (011.84.4) 823-1872

Your Excellency:

The Overseas Press Club of America (OPC) joins many other voices in protesting the mistreatment of Pham Hong Son , who is serving his fourth year in jail for posting on-line his translation of an essay entitled, “What is Democracy?”

Mr. Son reportedly has been coughing up blood and has a dangerous hernia in the groin, but has been denied proper treatment. His mistreatment stands in peculiar contrast to the white paper on human rights recently published by your government. It promises to protect freedom of expression, free use of the internet and freedom of the press. Mr. Son’s act in distributing an essay about democracy, which had been posted on-line by the U.S. embassy, would seem to fit easily within the rights your new guarantee. Yet, he remains in jail…sentenced for “anti-state” activities.

We would apply the same argument to the case of Nguyen Phu Binh , also in his fourth year in jail. He refuses still to sign a self-criticism demanded by the authorities. His crime: posting material on the Internet and consorting with “subversive dissidents.” Who are these “subversive dissidents”? Well, one of them is Mr. Son.

We also note with dismay a new directive requiring the owners of cyber-cafes to monitor the activities of their customers by requiring identification and banning them from using “pornographic and subversive” sites.

The OPC, which has been defending the right of journalists around the world for 70 years, would welcome a real application of the white paper on human rights in Vietnam . In the interest of our Vietnamese colleagues, we will watch developments closely.

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Main
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee



Pham Van Khai

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister

1 Bach Thao


Socialist Republic of Vietnam


Nguyen Dy Nien

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Fax: (011.84.4) 823-1872


Nguyen Tam Chien

Ambassador of Vietnam to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

1233 20th Street, NW

( Suite 400 )

Washington , DC 20036

Fas: (202) 861-0917


Ambassador Le Luong Minh

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

to the United Nations

866 United Nations Plaza , Suite 435

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 644-5732


Michael W. Marine

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam

Embassy of the United States of America

7 Lang Ha

Ba Dinh District



Fax: (011.84.4) 772-1510

( OR: United States Embassy – Vietnam

PSC 461, Box 400

FPO AP 96521-0002 )