Award citation for Journalist Nguyen Van Hai
By Ms. Jackie Bong Wright
Independent journalist Nguyen Van Hai, usually known under his pen names of Hoang Hai and Dieu Cay, was born in 1953 in the city of Hai Phong. He has been the most courageous writer working on Internet blogs in Vietnam. He founded the Independent Press Club, a group of reporters dedicated to covering the factual aspects of Vietnamese social reality and the collective psyche and aspiration of the Vietnamese people. They join together in the fight against the repressive and exploitative land policy and expropriation of the Communist government. He created two web sites: the first one, “The People’s Journal”, featuring reportages and articles by journalists of the Independent Press Club; the second one, called “The Peasant’s Pipe” featuring personal reflections on social plagues of Vietnamese society. In addition, in late 2007 and early 2008, he participated in numerous mobile manifestations against the invasion of Spratly Islands (Truong Sa) and Paracel Islands (Hoang Sa) by Red China. Subsequent to the demonstrations, the repressive police machine systematically harassed him by forcing him to report to police station whenever required, with the intention to intimidate him into giving up all his social endeavors and struggles for human rights. He was arrested on April 19, 2008, and tried on the fabricated charge of “tax evasion”. He was sentenced to 2 ˝ years in prison on September 19, 2008. Several international human rights organizations and the Vietnam Human Rights Network, have voiced their protests, and demanded his release.
Even though Mr.Nguyễn Văn Hải’s human rights activities have lasted for a relatively short period, he has a tremendous impact on the human rights movement in Vietnam, especially in the field of human rights and freedom advocacy through modern media techniques, and is well worthy of the Vietnam Human Rights Award 2008.
Vietnam Human Rights Network