Monday, September 22, 2008

Dr. Hai Van Ha's Letter to the Associated Press

I just received the following letter to the Associated Press from Dr. Hai Van Ha:

September 21st, 2008

Mr. Jon Petrovich
Vice President
AP Broadcast News Center
1100 13th Street, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Mr. Petrovich,

On behalf of Southeast Asia Democracy Coalition, I am writing to express our appreciation to Associated Press for your excellent service in bringing news from Vietnam to the world.

We are deeply concerned about the fact that Ben Stocking, an Associated Press journalist working in Vietnam, was assaulted on September 19th, 2008 by the Vietnamese communist police, while he was covering a Catholic protest at Toa Kham Su, Hanoi.

We strenuously condemn the barbaric actions of the Vietnamese communist police, who brutally injured Mr. Stocking when he was being detained. It is a criminal offense to assault a journalist while he is in police custody.

Press members should be free to report facts, even facts about civil and social unrests. Hostile and violent treatments of journalists on duties are neither acceptable nor accusable, and are actions condoned only by governments either wanting to obstruct freedom of the press, or to cover up their questionable activities, or both.

Unfortunately, this is the sad state of affairs in Vietnam today!

For this reason, Southeast Asia Democracy Coalition is grateful of the fact that journalist Stocking has written many articles about the facts of life in Vietnam. His articles have helped the world to understand what's really happening in a country ruled by one of the most corrupted totalitarian governments.

Once again, we would like to congratulate the Associated Press for having a dedicated and courageous staff such as journalist Stocking, and wish him a expeditious recovery.

Lastly, as the crisis in Thai Ha is escalating quickly, with many parishioners being threatened and beaten, we hope that the Associated Press will continue to provide much needed coverage, so that the free world will know what is actually going on in Vietnam.


Dr. Hai Van Ha
Southeast Asia Democracy Coalition

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