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Vietnamese journalist wins press freedom award

Award shows that journalists are not alone in their fight for justice, truth and human rights, Pham Doan Trang says

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

ucanews.com reporter, Hanoi

Published: September 13, 2019 09:38 AM GMT

Updated: September 13, 2019 09:45 AM GMT

Vietnamese journalist wins press freedom award

Vietnamese blogger-reporter Pham Doan Trang has been recognized for her work by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). (Photo courtesy of Pham Doan Trang)

The press freedom efforts of a Vietnamese blogger-reporter were honored at a Reporters Without Borders (RSF) event held in Berlin on Sept. 12.

Pham Doan Trang, 41, won RSF’s Prize for Impact, an award granted to journalists whose work improves journalistic freedoms, independence and pluralism.

Trang was unable to receive her prize in person, so it was instead accepted by one of her colleagues, Trinh Huu Long, at the German event.

For her press work, Trang was beaten and detained twice for several days in 2018.

Trang is the founder of www.luatkhoa.org, an online magazine that specializes in providing legal information. She also works as an editor of www.thevietnamese.org, which assists Vietnamese citizens to defend their rights in their communist-run country.

She is the author of many books including one defending the rights of Vietnam’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

In a brief video clip sent to the ceremony, Trang played the guitar and sang a folk song.

She also said RSF’s annual Press Freedom Awards shows that “journalists around the world, especially those who are victims of persecution, maltreatment, torture and extortion by government authorities, are not alone in their fight for justice, truth and human rights.”

Via the video, Trang said journalism in Vietnam is seen as a crime against the communist state.

“The prize helps me understand fully that no prize is a private one, no achievement is purely of an individual without countless efforts of many people secretly and publicly accompanying that person,” she said, adding that the prize is also for all people seeking the truth.

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Trang also expressed her deep gratitude to advocates for her cause and thousands of readers who accept risks, anxieties and dangers to buy her banned books.

The Liberal Publishing House, Vietnam’s only independent publisher whose activities are restricted by police, said the prize is a great honor for both itself and Trang.

The publisher plans to offer 2,000 copies of “Cam Nang Nuoi Tu” (A Handbook for Families of Prisoners) and “Phan Khang Phi Bao Luc” (A Handbook for Freedom Fighters) authored by Trang, to readers across the country.

At the RSF ceremony, Saudi journalist Eman al Nafjan was awarded the Prize for Courage while Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat was awarded the Prize for Independence.

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