Pham Quoc Anh, chairman of the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association, has condemned the violent attack launched by police forces on the two reporters from the Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV) during the forced land eviction in Xuan Quan commune in the northern province of Hung Yen on April 24.
Pham Quoc Anh - chairman of the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association., Photo: Tuoi Tre
He has also expressed his disappointment over the statement of Major General Tran Huy Ngan, director of the provincial public security department, in which the police chief said local authorities “had no desire to launch the attack”.
The lawyer has just submitted a document to suggest the Ministry of Public Security and People’s Committee of Hung Yen that they verify the attack and hand out appropriate punishment on people involved.
Tuoi Tre interviewed him regarding this case:
* During a recent working session with leaders of VOV, Tran Huy Ngan, director of Hung Yen province’s public security department, said the attack was ‘out of their desire’ and he expressed “deep sympathy” for the two attacked journalists. What are your opinions?
-- It’s unacceptable to offer the victims only sympathy. Probe into the serious case is needed instead. The journalists fully obeyed the laws while reporting the withdrawal. They also have press cards and membership cards of the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association. The look-like-gangster behavior of the attackers in police uniform as shown in the clip is unacceptable, too.
-- Leaders of Hung Yen public security department should have handled such a serious case soon. It’s not difficult to verify it since Van Giang where the forced land eviction took place is just dozens of kilometers from the province’s center. I think the department should learn from this experience and admit their own mistakes over their irresponsible and apathetic acts.
* As the leader of the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association, what do you think about the rights of on-the-scene reporters as well as the approach to information rights of civilians?
-- The two attacked VOV reporters confirmed with me that they reported the eviction in line with the laws. They didn’t act against the law enforcement officers. However, several men in police uniform repeatedly beat them for no reason. Their rude acts should be strongly condemned as they completely violated journalism laws.
* As a former National Assembly member, do you think bills on journalism laws (amended) and approach to information rights should be soon brought before the parliament for discussion and approval?
-- I think the NA should quickly consider and approve the bills. As I know, the Ministry of Justice is carefully preparing the bill on approach to information rights but the parliament has yet to put it on the agenda. It’s necessary to draft bills on protecting civilians’ rights to know all things happening in the whole country. Only effective legal lobby can help civilians be aware of and protect their own rights as well as help prevent the abuse of power among civil servants.
Source: Tuoi Tre
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