Ridiculous: Vietnam Sentences Musicians To Jail For Songs That Protest Government Actions

from the freedom-isn't-free dept

We talk a lot about the importance of free speech here in the US, and worry tremendously about any efforts to chip away at such free speech rights. Even as we worry about how free speech issues are dealt with at home, we're very aware that most other countries have significantly less respect for basic free expression concepts. It's somewhat horrifying to learn that last week, a court in Vietnam sentenced two Vietnamese musicians to years in prison for writing, recording and posting online some "protest" songs:
Both were accused of posting songs on a Web site of Patriotic Youth, a opposition group based overseas. Mr. Tri, 34, who uses the stage name Viet Khang, has criticized the government in his songs for not taking a harder line against China in territorial disputes. A video for his song, "Viet Nam Toi Dau" ("Where Is My Vietnam?"), has become a YouTube hit, with 700,000 views. Mr. Binh, 37, recorded the song "Courage in the Prison" ("Nguc Toi Hien Ngang") in support of an imprisoned blogger, Nguyen Van Hai. The song urges people to mount nonviolent protests.
And we're not just talking about a few weeks in prison, either. Tri got four years and Binh got six years. Binh's situation is especially ridiculous since his song is about an equally ridiculous prison sentence for a blogger. Basic political dissent is important to any free society, and to completely lock people up over some rather straightforward protest songs (that don't advocate violence or anything like that) is really quite horrifying. The US, thankfully, has condemned these sentences, but this is an issue that more people need to know about and speak out about.

Filed Under: bloggers, free speech, musicians, political protests, vietnam


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Nov 2012 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Really?

    its not uncommon for masnick to write about all sorts of subject not related to 'tech', for example mike talks alot about copyright, particularly music, he justifies this by stating (i guess) that technology is a part copyright issues.

    I dont feel they are, it's not an issue about technology, or the media the the music is on or transmitted.

    but he talk long and hard on the subject..

    as for this case, again, there is only a thin connection between tech and the issue.

    I dont think, these two people should be emprisioned, but the law in one country is not the US Law, standards are different, but the world certainly does not look to the US as an example of how to do it right..

    they, i am sure were fully aware of the fact they were breaking their countries laws, they acted anyway, willfull intent. They probably wont do it again !

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