The World Press Freedom Index 2022 published by RSF ranks Vietnam 174th out of 180 countries and territories. The specific indicators of Vietnam include a political index of 173, an economic index of 176, a legislative index of 172, a social index of 170 and the security index at 170. In the ranking, RSF falsely claims that “independent reporters and bloggers are often jailed”. This organization seemingly defends and advocates for a number of groups and individuals who take advantage of the freedom of speech and press to oppose Vietnam.
RSF's full French name is "Reporters sans frontières" established in 1985. Its international headquarters is in Paris. It’s a global non-governmental organization which uses Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for its action. But contrary to the policy of the United Nations, this organization has often made false statements and distorted the reality of press freedom and freedom of speech in certain countries, including Vietnam. Several countries have accused RSF of causing trouble and instability and inciting violence.
RSF exists and operates at least partly on the financial support of Western political groups, consequently in its annual press freedom rankings. The RSF often follows the lead of the governments that fund its activities. The RSF's assessment of press freedom in Vietnam is often based on information provided by reactionary and hostile organizations and individuals and political opportunitsts who have violated Vietnamese law. That’s why the information is not objective and does not truly reflect the reality of press freedom in Vietnam.
Vietnam has always been a responsible member of the international community, abiding by international law including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of speech and expression including freedom to hold opinions without interference, as well as freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Human rights and citizen rights including the right to freedom of speech and the press are guaranteed by the State of Vietnam, in accordance with the reality of national development and international practices.
The right to freedom of expression and information access are fundamental human rights of all citizens. The 2013 Constitution stipulates: “Citizens have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, access to information, meeting, association, and demonstration. The exercise of these rights is prescribed by law”. In order to ensure that all citizens' rights to freedom of speech, press and information are exercised as stipulated by the Constitution, the National Assembly and the Government of Vietnam have promulgated legal documents which are fully compatible with international instruments on human rights and freedom of speech and press. Article 11 of the 2016 Press Law clearly states that citizens have the right to: “Express opinions on the situation of the country and the world; participate in the formulation and implementation of guidelines and policies of the Party and of State laws; and provide comments, criticism, recommendations, complaints, and denunciations of organizations and individuals in the press”. The right to freedom of press and speech and the obligations of individuals and organizations in exercising the right to freedom of speech and press are also clearly regulated by the 2016 Press Law. Accordingly, the rights and obligations of citizens are always parallel and inseparable; all Vietnamese citizens have the right to freedom of press, the right to freedom of press expression, and at the same time have the obligation to exercise that right within the framework of the law.
Like any other country in the world, on the one hand, the State of Vietnam creates favorable conditions for citizens to exercise their rights to freedom of the press and expression in the press and allows the press to play its role, Press and journalists operating within the legal framework are protected by the State. On the other hand, no one is allowed to abuse the rights to freedom of the press and expression in the press to infringe upon the interests of the State or the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and citizens.
In Vietnam, no one is tried or arrested just for expressing opinions or protecting human rights. Only those who take advantage of freedom of speech and press freedom to infringe upon the interests of the State or the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and individuals, or violate the law such by spreading fake or malicious news, distorting, slandering, and or cause social chaos are punished under the law.
According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, Vietnam currently has some 41,000 employees engaged in journalism activities, 779 press agencies (including 142 newspapers, 612 magazines, and 25 electronic press agencies), and 72 agencies licensed to operate radio or television, with a total of 87 radio channels and 193 television channels. The quality of Internet access in Vietnam basically meets the standards.
Information from major international media agencies like CNN, BBC, TV5, NHK, DW, Australia Network, KBS, and Bloomberg is easily accessible to Vietnamese people. This is an undeniable fact about the situation of press freedom in Vietnam.
Obviously, RSF's assessment in its "Annual ranking of press freedom" in 2022 continues to ignore the reality of freedom of speech and press in Vietnam. RSF has clearly showed its prejudice against Vietnam, deliberately denying the efforts and achievements of the Vietnamese Party and State to ensure and respect freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
RSF's distortion is an old trick which aims to slander the Party and State of Vietnam and undermine Vietnam’s prestige and position in the international arena. No matter what tricks RSF uses, it has failed to disprove the truth of press freedom in Vietnam.