June 17, 2014 | By Endalkachew Chala

Physical Attacks Against Vietnamese Bloggers on the Rise

On May 25, 2014, a Vietnamese blogger and human rights activist, Tran Thi Nga, was seriously injured during a violent attack in Hanoi, a local human rights organization reported.

Tran Thi Nga, a savvy social media user in documenting human right abuses in Vietnam, was returning home after visiting fellow blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy when five men—now suspected to be undercover police members—surrounded her motor bike, on which she was riding with her two children, the report said. The assailants attacked Tran Thi Nga in front of her children and chased her before beating her with a metal pole. The blogger sustained serious injuries to her knee, arm, and back.

This unfortunate incident comes at a time of similar orchestrated attacks against bloggers and social media users in Vietnam. Four other distinct incidents have occurred since March 2014.

Vietnamese bloggers are under extreme surveillance. In January 2014, EFF documented the attempts of Vietnamese authorities to infect bloggers and employees of various civil society organizations with malware. It is alleged that the malware attack improved the robust surveillance capabilities of Vietnamese authorities.

The increased repression of bloggers and social media users hampers citizen journalism and the documentation of human rights abuses amid a generally poor climate of freedom of expression across Vietnam.

 EFF joins the Vietnamese Human Rights Network in denouncing theses attacks and calls on Vietnamese authorities to bring the assailants swiftly to justice.

 


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