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UNESCO

Law-enforcement and media agencies promote safety of journalists in Viet Nam

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Ha Noi, 29 September 2017 – Fifty representatives from law-enforcement agencies and media organizations, education institutions and professionals of Viet Nam agreed to enhance efforts to protect journalists from threats of violence in a training workshop on the importance of facilitating free flow information and transparency. The two-day training workshop organized on 28-29 September in Ha Noi by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in coordination with UNESCO and with representation from the Ministry of Public Security promoted the interdependent role of both media professionals and law enforcement agencies in ensuring the safety of journalists and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.

Viet Nam’s legislation and media legal framework are relatively comprehensive yet journalists continue to struggle with issues of personal and professional safety within their careers and working environment. Ninety-six per cent of journalists report having experienced some form of obstruction to their professional work and risks to their safety according to a 2016 report conducted by the Center for Research on Development Communication.  Vietnamese media also regularly report cases of conflict with law-enforcement units.

Addressing these issues, the training workshop discussed relevant international and Vietnamese legal documents on journalists’ safety as well as the particular role of law enforcement in ensuring journalists work in a safe environment.

Over the span of two days, participants exchanged good practices to enhance understanding and collaboration between enforcement agencies, media organizations and professionals to ensure social law and order and safety for journalists. 

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Building upon the shared experiences and debates, participants laid the groundwork for the establishment of a network of media professionals and information security agencies. The network is expected to support the regulation and observance of laws relating to journalists’ safety with the active involvement of all participants.

Opening the workshop, the UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam, Michael Croft, emphasized that with an increasingly complex media environment, UNESCO continues its work “to promote the safety of journalists and combat impunity for those who attack them.” He further added these two elements are central to “UNESCO's support for press freedom on all media platforms, human rights, peace, sustainability and poverty eradication.”

Deputy Director General of the Authority of Press of the MIC Nguyen Thai Thien highlighted the need to strengthen law-enforcement now that Viet Nam media laws have been revised and completed. He also urged the press, media and law-enforcement agencies to join forces to ensure the safety of and to put an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.

Concluding the workshop, media professionals and security representatives expressed their readiness to continue sharing information and experiences with each other as well as their eagerness to use the network as a tool to promote a safer environment for the works of journalism.

UNESCO actively promotes the safety of those who produce journalism and believes that they have the right to work free from the threat of violence, leading the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. In 2013, UNESCO adopted the UNESCO Work Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which further complements the organization’s existing work in the field.

For more information, please contact Ms Hoang Minh Nguyet, Communication and Information Programme Coordinator, at hm.nguyet(at)unesco.org

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