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In Vietnam, ex-newspaper chief editor faces prosecution for abusing ‘democratic freedoms’

Monday, November 02, 2015, 14:19 GMT+7

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has proposed that the Supreme People’s Procuracy prosecute the former editor-in-chief of Vietnamese newspaper Nguoi Cao Tuoi (The Elderly), Kim Quoc Hoa, for abusing democratic rights.

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Specifically, the ministry’s security investigation agency requested that Hoa, 70, be prosecuted for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State, the legitimate rights and interests of organizations and/or citizens,” pursuant to Article 258 of the Penal Code.

The agency added that the case is “serious in the field of press operations.”

In its conclusion of investigation, the agency said Hoa approved the publication of 23 articles containing titles and content that are untrue, groundless, subjectively inferential, and one-sided.

Notably, Hoa personally wrote and permitted the publication of an article that wrongfully said, “There are reports that in recent years, the Truong Sa [Spratly] archipelago has been home to many soldiers addicted to drugs who, thanks to their circle of acquaintances, have been sent there for drug detoxification under the cover of doing assignments.”

The ex-chief editor was also alleged to have added incorrect detail by saying that “most chief police officers in wards of major cities are colonels” in an article.

The investigation agency said 11 people have been involved in the case through their having written or edited articles containing incorrect content, but their involvement will not be treated criminally.

On February 9, 2015, the Ministry of Information and Communications released the results of its inspection at Nguoi Cao Tuoi, and announced the transfer of the results to the investigation agency and the revocation of a press card from Hoa.

The ministry also proposed that the Vietnam Association of the Elderly, which manages Nguoi Cao Tuoi, remove Hoa from his post.

The ministry then announced the revocation of the license of the website of Nguoi Cao Tuoi as it had published articles which “abused freedom and democratic rights.”

On the same day, the Ministry of Public Security’s investigation agency commenced legal proceedings for the criminal case.

On March 12, 2015, the Vietnam Association of the Elderly relieved Hoa of his editor-in-chief position.

Kim Quoc Hoa is also called Nguyen Quang Hoa, born in 1945 in the capital city.

Hoa was a soldier before becoming a journalist. He was the editor-in-chief of Chien Si Hau Can (Ordnance Soldier) newspaper.

Before taking the wheel at Nguoi Cao Tuoi, Hoa was the editor-in-chief of Tuoi Tre Thu Do (Capital Youth) newspaper, deputy editor-in-chief of Lao Dong Va Xa Hoi (Labor and Society) newspaper, editor-in-chief of Xay Dung (Construction) newspaper, and editor-in-chief of Doanh Nghiep Dau Tu Nuoc Ngoai (Foreign-Invested Enterprises) newspaper.

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