VIETNAM: The Silent, Fine Line

YVONNE EPPS WRITES — Vietnam’s media has a track record for jailing every person it does not like, but what happens when it fines one of its own state-run newspapers? Looks like this double-edged sword has finally drawn blood.

Recently, the Associated Press found that the government fined the state-run newspaper Law and Society for about $1,900 for “untrue information.” The story has circulated through many western newspapers like Fresno Bee and Washington Post, but no mentioning of the story has come up on Vietnam’s side. Huh, funny.

Vietnam’s newest comedy trend seems to be its silence concerning such unflattering issues, and it’s becoming a shaky pattern. The story was almost buried under the traffic of other issues, such as the Malaysian Airline fiasco and jailed bloggers, but it could still be unearthed. With no input on its own perspective, Vietnam allows international critics to share their commentary without refute.

It’s confusing to consider why Vietnam would fine one of its own. The grounds on which the fine was given is up for debate, but the act of doling a fine is strange. Is the government trying to hide its overt hypocrisy? The true reasons remain unclear, but staying silent about the issue doesn’t give Vietnam authority over the conversation. It’s hard not to laugh at the failing of its own system and the fine line of control it has over their state-run newspapers.

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