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2011 – A ‘multicolored’ year of Vietnamese media

The year 2011 has passed with many events in all fields, which were reported lively by the local media.
The year 2011 has passed with many events in all fields, which were reported lively by the local media.

Inflation and the requirement of restructuring the economy

Inflation emerged as a burning issue of Vietnam in 2007 but it was then overshadowed by the global economic crisis. In 2011, in parallel with the public debt crisis in Europe, the Vietnamese economy began revealing its problems. The country’s inflation rate hit 20 percent, which was very high compared to the regional and the world levels while public debt also increased, even though it did not exceed the safe level.

The media analyzed the reasons, including unreasonable investment structure, high and ineffective government spending, the rapid increase of money supply, the increase of labor productivity being lower that the rise of consumption demand (particularly imports), etc.

Difficulties in daily life and business under the pressure of inflation and towering interesting rates were timely reported by the local media, urging the government to take action.

The media and the public closely followed the government’s implementation of solutions and economic policies in the short term, for instance the petrol and power price stabilizing policies. The price control policy became the hot spot when the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade and Industry showed their contrary viewpoints over supervising business of petrol trading firms, in which Minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue was highly supported by the public.

However, the local media did not release sharp comments on long-run issues, for example the effectiveness of the government policies on restructuring government spending or the prospect of public debt in the context that the government would have to borrow more capital to invest in infrastructure development, especially the Ninh Thuan nuclear power project.

Sovereignty defend: the media are also soldiers

In 2011, the press strongly involved in sovereignty defense, starting from the Binh Minh 02 case on May 26, and after that, the Viking II case on June 9.

Right after the PetroTimes of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) reported the Binh Minh 02 case, all other newspapers immediately raised their voices.

The local media’s firm stand confirmed Vietnam’s point of view on defending its sovereignty and in solving disputes in the East Sea and encouraged patriotism among Vietnamese people. The wave of patriotism effectively supported Vietnam’s diplomacy. The people’s voice helped confirm justice in Vietnam’s viewpoint on the East Sea dispute, through which drew support from the international community.

Not only other governments but also international news agencies showed their fair interest on the East Sea dispute. Notably, the two world leading scientific journals – Nature and Science – acknowledged and gave a warning of China’s taking advantage of science to propaganda its sovereignty in the East Sea.

The unity of all classes in society and the active operation of the local media have significantly contributed to positive changes in solving the East Sea disputes.

Education and the black side of false values

Education was still a black piece in Vietnam’s panorama last year. The media reported plagiarism, which occurred among highly-educated people like professors, doctors or university lecturers.

Another problem was the use of false diplomas of officials. One of the biggest cases was detected in the southern province of An Giang, where 52 officials of An Phu district used false diplomas. Some confessed that they paid several million dong to buy false diplomas.

Whenever a case of plagiarism or using fake diploma was reported on the media, the public was stirred up and the education sector was blamed. However, not only poor education but also the recruitment mechanism in Vietnam is the reasons for this situation.

The Law on Demonstration and “Hoang Huu Phuoc effect”

The draft Law on Demonstration were discussed at the National Assembly (NA) session in November 2011, and the draft law would have been smoothly added to the agenda of the NA in the 2011-2016 term without a big surprise that came from the new NA deputy Hoang Huu Phuoc, from HCM City.

Phuoc cited people’s intellectual standards being not high enough and inaccurate and biased information to reject the right of demonstration, which was recognized by the Constitution 1992. The so-called “Hoang Huu Phuoc effect” created a controversy on both the media and social networks, with interesting features.

Phuoc’s “strange speech” helped capture public attention to the draft law on demonstration, through which proved that the issuance of this law is needed to meet the people’s legal requirement and to catch up with social development.

Le Van Luyen and the media’s mistake

The murder at Ngoc Bich gold shop in Bac Giang province on August 24 was a big case in the local media in 2011. Le Van Luyen, the teen killer, suffered the society’s dudgeon through the media.

Readers were updated with details of the case by minute, from how detectives worked to describing the scene, Le Van Luyen committed the crime alone or with someone else, what he ate before the murder, how did he look like after several months in jail… Some newspapers even published pictures of the child victim with a cut-off arm.

Not many reporters were aware of their wrong position when they were on behalf of the court to indict Le Van Luyen.

Minister Dinh La Thang – the fresh breath of air

Dinh La Thang was a new face on the political arena as Minister of Transport. Thang’s preemptory voice and drastic actions blew a fresh breath of air. Being excited with this, the media immediately turned Thang into a “phenomenon.”

Not very long after that, the media portrayed Thang as the Minister who broke the Constitution and the Minister with patriarchal behavior. Thang, after that, appeared on some newspapers in a new image: a football player in a friendly game. The public hopes that striker Dinh La Thang would continue making goals in key games against congestion, traffic accidents and construction projects.

Turtle and rhino

The media showed its imbalance in two cases of similar seriousness: the campaign to save the legendary turtle at Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake and the extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam.

While the local media reported every detail of the campaign to cure the wounded turtle, which lasted for several months, it neglected the death of the last Javan rhino in Vietnam. The dead rhino was founded with a bullet on its leg and its horn was cut off.

The local media did not do a good job in giving a warning of the global disaster: losing biodiversity.

Football

The media greatly contributed to the “revolution” at the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) through popularizing the speech by Nguyen Duc Kien, the boss of Hanoi ACB FC, at the year-end meeting of VFF. In the speech, Kien strongly criticized VFF’s mistakes and weakness and proposed reforms.

The media encouraged a wave of protest against VFF, which ended by the establishment of the Vietnam Professional Football (VPF) company, which has replaced VFF to run Vietnam’s football leagues.
(Source: VOV)
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