Updated on Mar 14, 2013.
Netizen Huynh Ngoc Chenh and Lucie Molliron, RSF director on communication. (http://huynhngocchenh.blogspot.com/)
Translated by Me Nam (Defend the Defenders)
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a surprise and a pleasure to be here at this honorable ceremony today, just because, in my country, many rights are regconized under the constitution but the authorities have restricted them by all means. Over the past two years, many bloggers have not allowed to travel abroad for tourism, health cares, conferences or receiving the international prizes, like myself, without any proper reason. They are blogger Dao Hieu, Nguoi Buon Gio, Nguyen Hoang Vi, JB Nguyen Huu Vinh, Huynh Trong Hieu, Uyen Vu, Le Quoc Quan…
Therefore it is a big surprise for me to be here. Perharps, its reason may be the prestige of RSF and Google Inc. who are the founder and the sponsor of this worthy award. And also it may be the lively outcome of campaigns for human rights and democracy in my country as the result of petitioning amendments of the constitution, which has had a certain effect on the authorities.
By the way, I would like to say more about the campaign for democracy and human rights which has been happening actively in my country. Three years ago, blogger and lawyer Cu Huy Ha Vu wrote articles to call for a multi-party system to democratize, he soon was sentenced up to 7 years in prison. Nowadays, I am here to witness a number of organizations with nearly twenty thousands of signatories in the petition calling for abolishing Article 4 of the constitution and pluralism, multi-party system without such fear.
What has made this magic thing? it is the internet. Internet network helps our people raising our concerns and real aspiration in the circumstance of freedom of expression is stifled.
As you know, there is non-existence of private press, only the organs of the state or of the party who can make publications and establish radio or television stations. So 700 media agencies are under the control of reliable Communists. The information on such media reflects the guideline of the rulling party. The voice and aspiration of people have no place to express. Fortunately, internet is born.
There are only a few bloggers at first, but they are the sharp needles to pierce the curtain of information suppression in Vietnam. Many people among them had paid a price for such bravery. They have been behind the bars, in re-education camps, under administrative probation or even forced to the mental centers. They are Thích Quảng Độ, Nguyễn Văn Lý, Nguyễn Đan Quế, Phạm Bá Hải, Nguyễn Văn Đài, Hà sỹ Phu, Bùi Minh Quốc, Tiêu Dao Bảo Cự, Cù huy Hà Vũ, Đỗ thị Minh Hạnh, Bùi thị Minh Hằng, Phạm Thanh Nghiên, Tạ Phong Tần, Điếu cày Nguyễn Văn Hải, Phan Thanh Hải, Phạm Minh Hoàng, Lê Công Định, Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, Nguyễn Tiến Trung, Lê Thăng Long, Trần Anh Kim, Nhạc sỹ Việt Khang, Trần Vũ Anh Bình, Lê Anh Hùng…
Their sacrifice is not a waste of effort. At the present, bloggers and pro-democracy activists have developed to a strong force nationwide that the authorities can no longer hold back. It is evident that there is twenty thousands of signatories to call for elimination of the said Article 4. Hundreds of websites, blogs are promoting reform, freedom of expression, democracy, which have been attracting an uncountable number of readers, linking to form a media network called as the people-oriented newspapers (bao le dan), which co-exists parallelly with the state-run media called the party-oriented newspapers (bao le dang).
In that concrete sphere I am given strength. The votes from around the world that you casted for me are the votes for the movement of struggle for civil rights, including freedom of expression that is increasingly developing.
Please offer this honor to the pioneers who have been paying their price in prisons and to all my colleagues who have helped and supported me.
In order to win over this worthy prize, I have received the support of bloggers, patriotic youths in Vietnam and overseas. The votes you casted for me are the votes contributed to encourage for a growing movement – a movement of independent journalists, who are ready to confront with difficulties to gain the justified right to freedom of exppression. Thanks to communication media such as VOA, BBC, RFA, FRI, SBTN, etc. They have actively made media attention about me and voting for Netizen. It triggered an good effect on the movement to progress in my country.
Personally when receiving the honorable award, I have felt the love and the trust that readers placed on my blog. The daily total number of readers increased from fifteen thousands to twenty even twenty five thousands.
Thanks to Google Inc. who owns a huge networks around the world. Google now is a great stock of knowledge that news providers like us always need when typing on the keyboard to write articles. It deserves to Google together with RSF organizing the annual award for those who operates online journalism.
Sincere thanks to RSF, who has a vast network all over the world, is a very important base for free bloggers like us to more easily cope with numerous dangers. The RSF’s Netizen award is a great encouragement for bloggers in countries with limited freedom of speech as our country.
Paris, Mar 12, 2013 – Huynh Ngoc Chenh