This post is also available in: Vietnamese
“Your pens are offensive weapons to defend the just against the unjust” – President Ho Chi Minh.
I pay tribute to many fine media professionals in Vietnam, both in journalism and in government.
We are proud to support them, working together in a modest way on professionalism, ethical conduct, and tackling obstruction.
So although I was pleased when a Vietnamese newspaper invited me to write an article for the occasion of Journalism in Vietnam Day, I was disappointed to be encouraged to remove my references to some of the difficulties and challenges.
There would be no shame in discussing these, and I am confident that the Vietnamese people can be trusted to understand the issues, and draw their own conclusions.
The British media is no paragon, and has plenty of difficulties of its own. My Prime Minister David Cameron gave evidence last week to the independent inquiry looking onto allegations of phone hacking. The inquiry is likely to look at how the British media can be better regulated.
In a similar vein, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s call for the Ministry of Information and Communications to strengthen the Vietnamese media might be an opportunity to explore more independent management of Vietnam’s media, as I suggested previously.
That might also help to protect journalists who are joining the Government’s fight against corruption, who “write stories that give us clear-headed insights into government policies, and who bring the lives of the voiceless into the spotlight”.