WASHINGTON - An international press freedom monitor has awarded Vietnamese journalist and blogger Pham Doan Trang a 2019 Press Freedom Prize for Impact.
"Pham Doan Trang is a true heroine given the situation of press freedom in Vietnam, where journalists and bloggers who do not toe the line of the current direction of the Communist Party face extremely severe repercussions," said Daniel Bastard, who heads the Asia-Pacific Desk of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Trang, who has no fixed address, reports on civil rights issues in Vietnam, where she has been beaten and imprisoned twice.
Two other women received awards from the group Thursday night in Berlin. Saudi journalist Eman al Nafjan received the award for Courage and Maltese journalist Caroline Muscat received the prize for Independence.
Founder of Luât Khoa
Trang's prize is awarded to journalists whose work has led to concrete improvements in journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism, or to an increase in awareness of these matters, according to an RSF statement.
Trang founded Luât Khoa, an online magazine that specializes in providing information about legal issues, and she edits another, The Vietnamese, which helps citizens defend their rights and resist the Communist Party's rule, RSF said.
Independent journalists and bloggers who report critically on sensitive issues face harassment or detention on anti-state charges, and at least 11 were behind bars as of Dec. 1, 2018, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which ranks Vietnam sixth among the 10 countries where it deems journalists are most censored. Like Saudi Arabia, China and Iran, Vietnam is "especially adept at practicing these two brands of censorship: jailing and harassing journalists and their families, while also engaging in digital monitoring and censorship of the internet and social media," according to a CPJ report.