Swedish Ambassador Concerned Over New Ban in Vietnam

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued the decision May 28 banning everyone within government ministries from speaking to the media, except ministers, provincial governors or officially appointed spokespeople.
Reporters working in the Vietnamese media, which is entirely state-controlled, said the new rules will make it more difficult to obtain information. They declined to give their names for fear they might be punished.
“Many government officials will use the regulations as a tool to refuse to talk to the press,” said one Ho Chi Minh City journalist. “This will make it harder for us to do our jobs.”
Swedish Ambassador Rolf Bergman said appointing official spokespeople is a positive development because it will give journalists a point of contact within each ministry. But he objected to restricting reporters from talking to other sources.
“It will be equally important for reporters and journalists to be able to carry out investigative journalism and to analyze, scrutinize and report relevant and accurate information from other sources as well,” he said in a written response.
Bergman said the new regulations go against the work Sweden has promoted through training members of Vietnam’s press over the past seven years.

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