June 22, 2016


Within the framework of the project “Media Partnerships for Improved Economic Policies” funded by GAC, on June 20, 2016, RED organized a consultation conference on the report of assessing the violation of journalists’ operational rights. The conference attracted the participation of experts and journalists from the Central Commission of Propaganda, the Vietnam Press Association, the Press Department, UNESCO and press agencies. Nguyen Quang Dong, a representative of research group presented the report results at the conference. One surprising result in the report showed that a main reason leading to the violation of journalists’ operational rights was due to the decline in the prestige of journalists in the society. In general, the report indicated that journalism environment has become more complicated, with the level of risk increasing to journalists. Number of media obstruction cases has been on the rise among the two most popular violation of journalists’ operational rights, including obstruction to access information and threatening & assaulting journalists. Addressing at the conference, Mr. Phan Huu Minh, head of the Vietnam Press Association’s Inspection Section; Mr. Nguyen Thanh Vinh, chairman of the Central Commission of Propaganda’s Inter-branch Journalist Associations; journalist Thuan Ha, and other journalism and communication experts supported to supplement and to make clearer sense of the report results. With experts’ analysis, some topics highlighted during the conference were as follows: -  Legal normative documents on protecting journalists’ operational rights are fairly enough. Specifically, within 5 years (2011-2015), Decree 02 (Sanctions for administrative violations in journalism and publishing), Decree 159 (Protecting journalists and reporters with fines to be levied on those who try to prevent them from doing their job), and 2016 Press Law were promulgated - It is needed to differentiate media obstruction cases happened to journalists (who hold press cards) with those of reporters. Many media obstruction cases showed that greenhorn reporters were not armed with proper behaviors that created unnecessary conflicts and were obstructed as a result. Facts have also shown that many journalists and reporters have not yet been fully armed with legal knowledge on journalists’ operational rights. This is also the case with law enforcement officials and ordinary citizens, leading to the violation of journalists’ operational rights continue. -  One of main reasons leading to the violation of journalists’ operational rights is the decline in journalism ethics and standards. A considerable number of journalists and reporters are found abusing their power to make money. Hence, their image in the society tends to have been changed in a negative manner. Along with the trend, public attitude and enterprises in particular is holding general negative stereotypes of journalists and reporters. Considering this, most delegates agreed that it was necessary to define occupational ethics in journalism, specifically as to what an ethical journalist, reporter means. Vietnam Press Association is mulling a plan to build a code of conduct for journalists. This will be an encouragement to journalists and reporters who are operating justifiably. On contrary, the code of conduct is expected to put forth punishment on those who are abusing their power to make money. Conference documents are available here