Vietnam to investigate newspaper for alleged slander, leaking of state secrets

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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Kim Quoc Hoa, the editor-in-chief of Nguoi Cao Tuoi newspaper, in a file photo.

Vietnamese police announced Monday they will launch an investigation into a local newspaper following allegations that it has slandered many people and revealed some state secrets in its reports. 
The announcement was made only a few days after the Ministry of Information and Communications wrapped up a two-month inspection at the Nguoi Cao Tuoi (The Elderly) newspaper, which recently attracted much public attention for its exposé on corruption. 
According to the ministry, 11 articles published by the newspaper between 2013 and 2014 had "distorted facts and slandered individuals and organizations."  
It also said that some of the information revealed in the articles were "national secrets". 
The ministry therefore requested the Ministry of Public Security to take necessary actions against the newspaper. 
At a press conference on Monday, officials from the ministry also ordered the Vietnam Association of the Elderly, which publishes the newspaper, to dismiss editor-in-chief Kim Quoc Hoa.
The ministry, which had revoked Hoa's press card, also proposed a criminal investigation against him. 
Website shutdown
The ministry also shut down the newspaper's website, saying it violated regulations on license, content and advertising. 
The website was ranked at 4,435 by Alexa on Tuesday morning. 
The Nguoi Cao Tuoi newspaper is a small newspaper but it has attracted a growing readership in the last few years, after publishing a series of reports on bribery and corruption that exposed some high-profile officials. 
The most notorious case involved Tran Van Truyen, former head of the Government Inspectorate, which essentially is the government's anti-corruption unit. 
The reports said Truyen and his family possessed vast real estate portfolio and huge villas in Ben Tre and Ho Chi Minh City, prompting top inspectors of the Communist Party to jump in and investigate. 
The inspectors found that Truyen had illicitly accrued huge real estate holdings. 
Local governments in Vietnam decided to seize a house and a plot of military land from him later.

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