Legal Initiatives for Vietnam's (LIV) mission is to build a democratic society in Vietnam through independent journalism, research, and education.
LIV was founded by Trịnh Hữu Long, Trần Quỳnh-Vi, Phạm Đoan Trang and Trương Tự Minh in 2014 as a small legal publication, which has now become its core project called Luật Khoa. Later, it was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in California, United States in January 2017. In November 2021, LIV opened its representative office in Taipei, Taiwan.
What We Do
We believe that independent journalism and an informed citizenry are vital parts of the democratic future we envision for Vietnam. Thus, we invest in building independent media outlets and institutions that are free of censorship and self-censorship. However, these are not enough; we must also invest in quality journalism. These are our main projects:
- Luật Khoa Magazine: Our first and core project aims to inform Vietnamese audiences about law, politics, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and environment protection. Since 2014, the Luật Khoa Magazine has become one of the leading independent news outlets in the Vietnamese media environment.
- The Vietnamese Magazine: an English publication that aims to raise awareness about Vietnam’s political and legal affairs among the international community. Since 2017, The Vietnamese Magazine has published news and updates about the state of democracy, human rights, politics, and religion, as well as translations of Vietnamese language articles for the benefit of foreign readers. The Vietnamese Magazine is also in collaboration with the Asia Democracy Chronicles.
LIV aims to provide quality resources for journalists, researchers, policy makers, and advocacy groups. Over the years, we have worked on various research projects in internet freedom, religious freedom. Our research interests also go beyond these areas to include democratization, press freedom, and criminal justice.
Some data that we have collected is released here.
LIV’s publications and research educates and informs its audience not only on contemporary issues, but also in the fields of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. However, other forms of education remain crucial to achieve our goals. We provide:
- Training and paid internships for journalists;
- Translation and compilation services for books;
- Access to a physical and virtual library.
Meet Our Team
Trịnh Hữu Long
Co-founder and co-director based in Taipei, Taiwan
Aside from being a member of LIV's leadership, he is in charge of Luat Khoa Magazine, a Vietnamese publication covering Vietnam’s law and politics. He began his career in 2008 as a legal counsel for some companies in Hanoi and became a democracy advocate and journalist in 2011. He has worked for various media and human rights organizations such as Tia Sáng magazine (2011-2012), Tuổi Trẻ newspaper (2012), and VOICE (2013-2016).
He has a background in law and Asia-Pacific studies, specializing in Vietnam's constitutional law, freedom of expression, internet freedom, and criminal justice, as well as Taiwan's democratization. He has written and translated several books in politics and has been an author of the Vietnam Chapter of Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net reports since 2021.
Co-founder and co-director, based in New York, United States
She was a litigation lawyer in Menlo Park and San Jose, California before becoming a democracy advocate and journalist in 2015. Apart from being a member of LIV's leadership, she is in charge of The Vietnamese Magazine, an English publication covering Vietnam’s law and politics, and advocacy.
She specializes in Vietnam's freedom of expression and criminal justice, and is also a strong advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. In 2021, Vi was accepted as a Democracy and Human Rights Service Fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD). She is currently pursuing a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University.
Phạm Đoan Trang
Co-founder and editor, based in Vietnam
She is one of the most prominent journalists in Vietnam and has worked for various media outlets such as VnExpress, VietNamNet, and Phap luat TP. Ho Chi Minh since 2000. She became a democracy activist in the early 2010s and has been involved in various social movements and educational activities. Aside from working as an editor for LIV, she was also the leading author of the Liberal Publishing House and has written many books on political and legal affairs in Vietnam.
As a result of her excellence and contribution, she has been awarded by People In Need, Reporters Without Borders, Martin Ennals Foundation, US Department of State, the Canadian and the United Kingdom governments, and Committee to Protect Journalists. She was arrested by Vietnamese authorities in October 2020 and was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment for “spreading propaganda against the state.”
She currently serves her sentence in An Phuoc Prison, Binh Duong province, Vietnam.
And 12 other team members who are editors, staff writers, administrators, and volunteers.