Vietnam Jails Human Rights Blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh
Posted on October 11, 2016
The New York Times reports that Vietnam has arrested popular blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh for spreading propaganda against the state. Ms. Quynh, who blogs under the name other Mushroom, is a 37 year old writer, human rights and environmental activist who has written about topics that the Communist government does not want discussed.
Her latest column was about the environmental devastation caused by the dumping of toxic chemicals along the country's central coast by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation, a Taiwain based corporation. The corporation dumped waste into the South China sea, devastating fishing communities prompting protests and an explosion of social media posts. She criticized the government's handling of the spill and lack of help for the people affected by the disaster.
Ms. Quynh co-founded the The Network of Vietnamese Bloggers, which is one of the few independent writers’ associations in Vietnam. All media and publishing are controlled by the state media. Viet Nam ranks third in the world as the country which jails the most journalists. Ms. Quynh's arrest has sent shockwaves through the blogging community, especially among the younger writers. No doubt the government was hoping for a chilling effect. But early indications are that many are willing to persevere.
In 2015 Ms. Quynh was named Civil Rights Defender of the Year by the Stockholm based group Civil Rights Defenders. You can see Ms. Quynh speak about how crucial bloggers are in the fight for human rights in Viet Nam, despite government harassment, intimidation and imprisonment. Take a look: