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On 15 December, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report on the state of human rights and freedom of expression in Vietnam. According to the report, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Vietnam's reunification saw the government maintaining tight control over freedom of expression and other basic rights. The restrictions on free expression include the following: authorities continued to take strong action against those who criticized the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) or spoke out in favour of democratic change; a wide range of political subjects remained off-limits to the media; peaceful critics of the government continued to have few outlets for independent expression; the domestic media remained under strict state control and published scarcely any criticism of the government; foreign journalists were warned against contacting dissidents and foreign publications were occasionally censored; and Internet access remained tightly controlled. Furthermore, provisions in the 1999 Press Law, which allowed media outlets to be sued for defamation whether the information they publish is accurate or not, were applied for the first time in September 2000.

For the full report, please contact Human Rights Watch, 350 Fifth Ave., 34th Floor, New York NY 10018-3299, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 290 4700, fax: +1 212 736 1300, e-mail: [email protected]; or Human Rights Watch, 1522 K Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20005-1202, U.S.A.; Tel: +1 202 371 6592; Fax: +1 202 371 0124; E-mail: [email protected]; Website:

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