The Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release journalist Pham Doan Trang and drop anti-state charges against her.


Trang, a prominent journalist who contributes regularly to several independent news sites, was arrested just before midnight yesterday in Ho Chi Minh City, according to news reports.

She was charged with “propaganda against the State” under Article 117 of the penal code, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Public Security’s website today. Convictions under Article 117 carry maximum jail terms of 20 years. Vietnam has detained and threatened several journalists under the charge in recent months, as CPJ has documented.

“Authorities should immediately release journalist Pham Doan Trang, drop the charges against her, and cease their decade-long campaign of harassing her,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Vietnam must stop treating independent journalists like criminals.”

CPJ could not independently verify where Trang was being detained and under what conditions.

Reuters reported that Trang was arrested just hours after an annual U.S.-Vietnam human rights dialogue meeting was concluded.

Trang, who reports widely on human rights-related issues including cases of police abuse, founded the local Luat Khoa legal magazine and edits and writes for the independent English-language The Vietnamese news site, according to news reports.