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Nguyen Van Hoa

HRD & blogger

Nguyen Van Hoa is a 22 year old blogger, activist and digital security trainer from Vietnam. He also reports for Radio Free Asia, a media organisation which provides independent news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to free press. In 2016, the human rights defender shared information online through photos, videos and articles about the Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group’s toxic chemical spill in Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, one of the country’s worst environmental disasters. He was the first to broadcast live footage of the resulting protests against the government using a flycam drone outside the Formosa Steel Plant in Ha Tinh Province. In October 2016, his footage of more than 10,000 peaceful protesters went viral.


In Vietnam, there is no independent media – newspapers, television and radio stations as well as Internet communications are strictly controlled by the state. The only sources of independently-reported information are bloggers and citizen journalists, who are subjected to harsh forms of persecution including violence by plainclothes policemen, arrest and prosecution. A nationwide crackdown against HRDs engaged in calls for transparency and accountability in the government’s handling of the Formosa environmental disaster – a water pollution crisis – has intensified since 2016. Peaceful demonstrations around the country resulted in mass arrests and attacks against participants by police and individuals in plain clothes believed to be working under police orders. HRDs working for democracy receive accusations of being “foreign spies or agents”, “traitors”, or “violators of public order and peace”. Land rights activists are also frequently arrested.