25 January, 2015
A new blog is providing information for Vietnamese who want to learn about the hidden workings of their country's politics. The name of the person responsible for the blog has yet to be made public.
The website is called Portrait of Power, or Chan Dung Quyen Luc in Vietnamese. It publishes documents and photographs said to show corruption among some cabinet officials and their families. The blog has recorded almost 14 million visits since it was launched a month ago.
Pham Chi Dung is chairman of an independent group of reporters. He told VOA's Vietnamese Service that readers want to know who writes the blog. He thinks the blog is affecting Vietnamese politicians.
He says questions about the owner of the blog could lead to suspicion among Communist Party members. He says this could affect party unity. He says party members are already fighting with one another for control of the party.
Vietnamese state agencies closely watch the country's media. Blogger Huynh Ngoc Chenh was a reporter at the government-operated newspaper Thanh Nien. He says this strong state control is one reason Vietnamese are increasingly turning to social media for news and information. He says they are looking for stories ignored by the government-controlled press.
He says Vietnamese media is like a propaganda tool and is under the control of the Communist Party. He says that is why Portrait of Power has captivated readers -- it has news that is reliable and correct. He says this has brought many readers to the blog in a short period of time.
Vietnamese officials have yet to answer the accusations made by the blog. But the People's Daily newspaper has suggested that the blog is publishing false information in an effort to damage the image of Vietnamese leaders.
State-operated media recently reported the comments of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. He reportedly said it is impossible to ban social media sites like Facebook, so officials should provide the Vietnamese people with correct information. The newspaper Thanh Nien reported last week that he said people would believe correct and timely information if the government provides it.
Some people in Vietnam have said they cannot log on to Facebook. But Vietnamese officials say they have not tried to block it.
I'm Christopher Cruise.
VOA Vietnamese Service Correspondent Colin Nguyen reported this story from Washington. Christopher Cruise wrote it for VOA Learning English. George Grow edited the story.
Words in This Story
suspicion – n. a feeling that someone is possibly guilty of a crime or of doing something wrong
captivate(d) – v. to attract and hold the attention of (someone) by being interesting
reliable – adj. able to be believed; likely to be true or correct
How do you learn about what your country's political leaders are doing? Do you read the "Portrait of Power" blog? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the comments section.