Vietnam tries journalists for “abusing freedom and democracy” in PMU-18 corruption case

HANOI, VIETNAM: Two Vietnamese journalists will go on trial for allegedly writing inaccurate stories about one of the country’s most high-profile corruption cases, an official said Friday (10 Oct).

Media groups have called for the release of the two journalists, Nguyen Van Hai and Nguyen Viet Chien, saying their arrests will discourage reporting on official wrongdoing.

The two, whose trial in the Hanoi People’s Court begins Tuesday (14 Oct), have been charged with “abusing freedom and democracy,” an offense that carries a maximum jail sentence of seven years, said Nguyen Viet Hung, the court’s chief administrator. The trial could last two days, he said.

Hai and Chien, who work for two of the country’s largest newspapers, are known for aggressive reporting on corruption.

They were arrested 12 May for unspecified inaccuracies in their reporting on a scandal at the Transportation Ministry that erupted in 2005.

Two police officers who allegedly provided information to the two journalists also will be tried on charges of “deliberately revealing state secrets,” Hung said.

The scandal led to the conviction of nine people accused of betting millions of dollars on European football matches with money embezzled from a unit of the ministry that managed major road and bridge construction projects.

The unit received substantial funding from the World Bank and the Japanese government.

Read more …

Vietnam News, Oct 15, 2008

Ex-journalists’ trial opens in Hanoi, verdict expected today, Thanh Nien Online, Oct 15, 2008

Ex-journalists’ trial reaches verdict in Hanoi, Thanh Nien Online, Oct 16, 2008, Oct 14, 2008

BBC, Oct 14, 2008

Associated Press, Oct 14, 2008

Báo Nhân Dân, Xét xử sơ thẩm bốn bị cáo nguyên là cán bộ cảnh sát điều tra, phóng viên báo chí vi phạm pháp luật, ngày 15-10-2008

Báo Nhân Dân, Tuyên án bốn bị cáo nguyên là cán bộ cảnh sát điều tra, phóng viên báo chí, ngày 15-10-2008

BBC, Vietnam sends journalist to jail, Oct 15, 2008

AFP, Vietnam jails journalist who wrote about state corruption, Oct 15, 2008

International Herald Tribune, Vietnam jails journalist in graft reporting trial, Oct 15, 2008

The Age, Australia, Oct 15, 2008

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): News, Updates and Important Links.