In Vietnam, a famous journalist and human rights defender Pham Doan Trang is sentenced to nine years in prison by Hanoi court for “disseminating propaganda against the socialist republic of Vietnam.”  

Prior to her conviction, Pham Doan Trang said that she has been terrorized and arrested by the Vietnamese authorities 25 times since 2015.  

Title: Répression Au Vietnam, une célèbre journaliste condamnée à neuf ans de prison
Publish Date: December 15, 2021
Publisher: Libération


"Just in case I'm imprisoned, blogger Pham Doan Trang wrote in 2019, I don't want freedom for myself alone: ​​it's too easy. I want something bigger: freedom for Vietnam.” The 43-year-old journalist and activist knew she had been in the crosshairs of the authorities of her country for many years. On Tuesday, she was sentenced to nine years in prison by a court in Hanoi, accused among other things of “disseminating propaganda against the socialist republic of Vietnam”.

According to judge Chu Phung Ngoc, she displayed "behaviour dangerous to society", with "the intention of violating the socialist regime". As a result, she had to be “severely punished”. According to the documents provided by the prosecution, the government accuses Pham Doan Trang of having illegally stored and disseminated several reports, one concerning an ecological disaster, another on freedom of religion in Vietnam, and the third on the human rights situation. The Vietnamese state also disapproves of his participation in a round table for the Vietnamese edition of the BBC and an interview with Radio Free Asia Vietnam.

“Prolific blogger Pham Doan Trang is facing harsh government retaliation for a decade spent advocating for free speech, press freedom and human rights. By pursuing it, the Vietnamese authorities are showing how much they fear critical and popular voices,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Stopped 25 times

The sentence pronounced against Pham Doan Trang closes years of commitment, but above all years of persecution on the part of the Vietnamese regime. Her career as a journalist began in state media, which she quickly left to take part in peaceful protests against government policies. Her first arrest dates back to 2009, when she was detained for nine days, on “national security” grounds. She then finds herself under house arrest.

During her hearing, Pham Doan Trang said she had been arrested 25 times since 2015, and "terrorized" by the police. In fact, in April 2015, she took part in a pro-environmental demonstration in Hanoi and found herself injured by the security forces. The following year, US President Barack Obama, visiting Hanoi , invited him to join a gathering of activists. The police arrest him and prevent him from attending. The same year, she wrote many times about one of the worst ecological disasters in Vietnam: a spill of toxic products that had caused the death of several tons of fish. In November 2017, she was arrested for having met with a delegation from the European Union.

Prohibited tests

If Pham Doan Trang bothers the Vietnamese authorities so much, it is also because she has always supported certain subjects: the rights of LGBT + people, environmental issues, the territorial dispute between Vietnam and China, police violence, the repression of activists and the defense of human rights. In 2019, she became editor-in-chief of the online magazine Luat Khoa Tap Chi ( The Vietnamese in its English version), which precisely documents all human rights violations in Vietnam. She also co-founded the publishing house Liberal Publishing House, which publishes essays – banned by the government –, which she left in 2020.