The mouthpiece of the Vietnam Petroleum Association (VPA) PetroTimes has been suspended and its editor-in-chief fired over "journalistic violations."
Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications issued two decisions on Monday afternoon, one ordering a three-month suspension of local news site PetroTimes and the other on the revocation of Editor-in-Chief Nguyen Nhu Phong’s press card.
According to one of the decisions, signed by Minister Truong Minh Tuan, Phong had his press card revoked because he had been fired by his governing body, the VPA, from the editor-in-chief position at the news site.
Phong was removed on Monday morning, leaving his deputy Nguyen Tien Dung to take over the commanding position.
PetroTimes is responsible for withdrawing Phong’s press card and submitting it to the ministry, the decision reads.
In the other decision, PetroTimes will be subject to a three-month suspension starting on Monday due to “violations in journalistic activities,” a disciplinary action it said was suggested by the governing body of the news site.
Further reviews will be made after the suspension period to consider whether PetroTimes can be allowed to reopen, the decision reads.
Nguyen Nhu Phong, 61, was a police colonel who worked as deputy editor-in-chief for local newspapers An ninh the gioi (Global Security) and Cong an nhan dan (People’s Public Security) before moving to his latest position at PetroTimes.
The news site commenced in May 2011 after its paper edition Nang Luong Moi (New Energy), also governed by the VPA under Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), was introduced the same year.
PetroTimes generally publishes news on a range of social issues, in addition to updates on the country’s petroleum activities.
The site’s homepage at petrotimes.vn is currently a black page with a single line announcing its suspension.