The Ministry of Information and Communications said a police decision not to press charges against the attackers of a local reporter early this year was biased and a reinvestigation of the case is needed.
Police in Lang Son Province's Cao Loc District last week said Nguoi Lao Dong reporter Tran The Dung was beaten by a local man in January. But because he wasn't seriously injured, Cao Loc police decided to impose only a civil penalty on Phan Binh An, the sole attacker identified, even though Dung said he had been beaten by a group of men.
But the Ministry of Information and Communications said in a statement sent to the provincial administration that the police decision did not reflect "the nature of the case" and the motives of the attackers were not disclosed.
The police decision was met with criticism from the public and the media nationwide, the ministry said.
The ministry said the People's Committee of Lang Son Province has to order a reinvestigation to make sure the attackers are punished strictly and the rights of journalists are protected.
Dung told Thanh Nien on Friday that he had lodged an appeal against the police decision and will ask authorities to reopen the case.
According to his initial statement, the assault was more serious than investigators described. Dung said he was beaten by a group of men while he was taking photos for a report on poultry smuggling in the northern province of Lang Son, bordering China.