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
    Mr. Applegate, 5 Nov 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    Say it ain't so! Anymore I don't think you have to be active in a left wing movement for the government to 'have a file on you'. You just simply need to use, a phone, computer, or visit a public place, have a drivers licence, register to vote, or to carry a firearm. Better not buy cold medication (behind the counter), or ammo, or .... People would be truly appalled if they knew what information the government keeps on you.

    Of course it is not just the government. Without touching government systems I can probably find out in less than 3 minutes; where you live (and have lived); who you work for; how much you make; what your political leanings are; any blogs you post to; any medical problems you may have, or have had; your driving record; your criminal record; if you own a firearm (legally); your phone number(s); your email address(es); your complete credit history; and the list goes on.

    The more information I have about you (age, current address, DL#, SS#...)the more accurate the information I can obtain about you.

    The government, of course, can do much more, since they have access to even more data than I.

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