THE TRUTH - JUSTICE - LOVE
Democratic Voice of Vietnam Debuts
June 18, 2012
A blog to promote the voice of Vietnamese civil society among international audiences makes its debut today.
Democratic Voice of Vietnam, sponsored by BPSOS with the support of a number of Vietnam human rights organizations and advocates, offers "a forum for the Vietnamese people to speak to the world about Vietnam of today and of tomorrow."
As a one-party state, the Vietnamese government does not tolerate civil society. Having partially opened up the business sector, the government maintains tight control of the social sector, viewing any organized activity as a potential challenge to its monopoly on power. It suppresses dissenting voices within the country and excludes them from regional and international forums.
To create a perception of normalcy, Vietnam sends government-operated NGOs, also known as GONGOs, to ASEAN and international forums so as to defend government policies.
"As a result, the world has an incomplete understanding of the real conditions in Vietnam, and Vietnamese civil society advocates do not enjoy the same level of visibility as their peers in some other countries such as China, Burma, or Cuba," said Dr. Nguyen Dinh Thang, Executive Director of BPSOS. "We would like to create a medium to introduce such advocates to the international public, governments and human rights organizations."
The blog also serves as a source of timely and reliable information about Vietnam country conditions.
"We encourage the citizens of Vietnam to report events and incidents as they see them," said Dr. Thang.
The blog's photo gallery currently displays photographs taken by Vietnamese citizens of the brutality committed by the police against people of faith. Its video links show the scenes of two reporters and a pregnant woman being beat up by the police and "thugs" during the government's expropriation of farmland in the Van-Giang commune.
According to Dr. Thang, the different sections of the blog will eventually be managed by the relevant civil society groups. As a start, Raleigh-based Montagnard Human Rights Organization tracks and reports the conditions of Montagnards in Vietnam's Central Highlands.
The blog covers a wide range of issues, from economy and trade to environment and health, from the different areas of freedom to the East Sea dispute... There is a specific section for the indigenous peoples of Vietnam.
BPSOS formed a research team earlier this year to design and maintain Democratic Voice of Vietnam. Volunteer translators are on hand to help advocates in Vietnam bridge the language gap.
After two months of testing, the blog is officially launched today. It can be accessed at: http://dvov.org/
>>> Click here to view page in Vietnamese