Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visits the stall of the Communist Review during the Spring Press Festival 2015. Image: tapchicongsan.org.vn
On the 90th anniversary of the Viet Nam Revolutionary Press Day (21 June 1925-21 June 2015), comrade Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam wrote an important article, extending emotion and greetings to Vietnamese journalists. Communist Review would like to introduce the article.
Amidst the joyful celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Viet Nam Revolutionary Press Day, I would like to convey to the journalists through out the country my sincere greetings and best wishes. I wish the press development and hope that the press will accompany the renovation process, national construction and defense for people’s happy lives.
The more the society develops, the higher the position and role the press plays in each country’s daily life. It is a great honor and heavy responsibility for the journalists. It is not accidental that during his journey to find the way for national liberation, particularly in preparation for the establishment of a political party to lead the revolution, comrade Nguyen Ai Quoc-Ho Chi Minh published the newspaper “Youth” on 21 June 1925. He stated that to make a revolution, the first thing to do was to disseminate revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist ideology, mobilize, organize and rally revolutionary forces. The revolutionary press is an extremely important tool to fulfil those tasks and promote social advancement.
Ninety years have past, the Vietnamese revolutionary press founded and led by President Ho Chi Minh has accompanied the Communist Party of Viet Nam and the Vietnamese people in their staunch struggle for national independence and socialism. In the resistance wars against aggressors for national defense, the Vietnamese press was an important army in ideological front; many press products were really “revolutionary appeals,” and “the call of the country” urging people to go to the front. During the wars, hundreds of journalists-fighters courageously laid down their lives, glorifying the history of the revolutionary press and the heroic Vietnamese people.
During the 30 years of renovation, the press has made crucial achievements, making great contribution to the common cause of the country. Journalists have constituted the regular force in directing public opinion, encouraging and mobilizing the Party, people and army to successfully implement the renovation lines initiated and led by the Communist Party of Viet Nam. They have closely followed development, braving hardship and difficulties, provided timely information and deep analysis on daily activities in all aspects and regions, introduced best practices and models, proactively fought against negative phenomena, inertia, corruption and waste, defended national sovereignty, rejected hostile allegation and distortion, and defended the Party’s viewpoints and lines. The press has actively participated in supervision and provided critical opinions to the development of the Party’s lines, and the State’s policies and legislation and promoted people’s mastery. The press has contributed to expanding external relations, introducing Viet Nam, its land, people and culture to the world and acting as a significant bridge bringing home to the Vietnamese readers better understanding of the situation in the region and the world.
In a nutshell, the press has made important contribution to the renovation process. It is in this renovation that the press and the journalists have unceasingly developed and grown. It is noticeable that more than ever before, Viet Nam has had such a large number of media outlets with a large number of journalists. According to reports from the Ministry of Information and Communications, Viet Nam now boasts 849 print media organizations, 67 radio and television stations, 98 electronic newspapers and a news agency. If in 2009, there were 31,000 people working in the media, the number increased to 35,000 in 2015, nearly 18,000 of them are media professionals and 95.9% of them are university graduates or post-graduates.
Looking back at the 90 years of development, we can take pride in the great contribution, development and growth of the Vietnamese revolutionary press.
Currently, the Party, people and army have scaled up the comprehensive renovation, realizing industrialization and modernization, working proactively and actively for international integration and rapid and sustainable development. This is an great cause. Beside opportunities and advantages are challenges calling for high unanimity, efforts, firm confidence and outstanding will. The press has the responsibility to generate aggregated strength and oneness of mind for the revolution. Each journalist, each media organization must bring into play the glorious tradition fostered by generations of media professionals over the past 90 years, building political acumen, heightening social responsibility, citizen obligation and professional ethic to successfully fulfil their functions and political duties, and being worthy of the Party’s trust and people’s expectation.
Given strong development of science and technology, journalists have had many advantages especially in information gathering. By surfing the internet in some minutes they learn what are going on in the world; with the diversification of media outlets, we can choose any media product. This was impossible during the years of resistance wars. However, along with the press’ development in scope and characteristics which provide readers, viewers and listeners many services, confidence in the press has been worryingly decreasing. This is because, some information disseminated on the mass media is one way, not truthful and even is distorted or misinformed. Information explosion and market economy development require media organizations to compete for development, listeners, viewers and readers. That must be healthy competition by early providing accurate, truthful, objective and attractive news reports not by sensational technique to attract audiences. To do so, journalists should fully grasp the Party’s lines and viewpoints, study reality and people’s thinking, emotion and aspiration, and reflect actual life by their devotion and responsibility. The press does not only provide information but analyzes, comments and leads audiences so that they understand what is correct and what is not, defends and acts upon the good and eliminates the bad, moves toward noble humanism values for a peaceful and happy life for every people, family and society.
The press’ weaknesses are attributable to low political and professional level of part of media workers, especially irresponsibility and violations of professional ethic. Leaders of some media organizations have shown negligence in information management as well as management of reporters, editors and collaborators, set great store by recreation and profit not by the press’ functions of orientation, education and aesthetics. They have even taken advantage of the press for personal interests and “group interests.” During the wars of resistance, despite numerous difficulties and hardship, threats and death the journalists used weapons to fight and pen to write and create outstanding media outputs holding million people as one towards one goal, that were to liberate the country and firmly defend national independence. Nowadays, in the peace time, apart from genuine journalists there are people who want to use their title as “journalist” to stand out of the national construction and defense, capitalize on social criticism to raise their out-of-tune voices, stand aloof of vision and mission of the press, and lack responsibility and professional ethic. This is not acceptable.
The journalists must fully understand their honor and great responsibility of their profession-a noble and sacred profession, particularly in the new revolutionary stage of the country, constantly train and foster themselves, heighten their political awareness, professional standards, especially journalist ethic. As the country is developing the socialist-oriented market economy for international integration, the journalists should be the vanguards in the ideological front, absorb advanced cultural values of humankind, fight against decadent and miscellaneous “culture” which is alien to national customs and practices and educate people, particularly the young generations, personality, lifestyle, ethics and soul of the Vietnamese people. During the time of information explosion, the revolutionary journalists must acquire revolutionary acumen, assume the role as information leaders while meeting the demand for information access of people of all walks of life. In other words, the revolutionary journalists must have high revolutionary spirit of fighting to eliminate the bad, defend the good for the common cause of the country and people, complete and renew themselves.
The regulatory and management bodies must improve their capacity to advise and build orientations and lines on the press management and development in line with the principle to put the press under the leadership of the Party and management of the State in conformity with the common development trend and the context of Viet Nam. The press must be a useful weapon and an effective tool of the Party in the front of ideology.
On this occasion, we must point out that the press is the tool for social, national and class struggle. The revolutionary press is not only information media, purely for entertainment but has the functions of dissemination and agitation to rally and organize the mass in the revolutionary struggle, education and action orientation for people of all strata. In the world, admittedly or unadmittely, political force and economic and social organizations have been using the press as tools for their interests. Despite much talks about “objectivity”, “democracy,” “freedom,” and “recreation,” of the press, it has been used for political purposes as a useful weapon. Let’s see what their media talks about. Why do they deliver this news item not the other? In what direction do they comment? Who do they attract and protect? Is it correct to say that they stand away from management or manipulation of their owners? We must not be ambiguous, first and foremost of the press’ nature and functions so that we can clearly identify where we stand, the angle of our perspective and the way we look at things in our reception, analysis and delivery of information. It is said that the media must reflect truth and be objective. But what truth? Truth under what angle? What are the intention and motivation when talking about it? Who will benefit and who will not? Is it constructive or destructive? This is a key issue, extremely important and decisive. President Ho Chi Minh, the beloved leader of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, the Vietnamese national and the master of the Vietnamese press, more than once affirmed that the press is the vanguard in the ideological and cultural front; the journalists are revolutionary fighters, their pens and papers are their weapons. Thus, the press’ responsibility is heavy and glorious.
Party organizations, agencies, units and line offices should strengthen leadership, guidance and management to prevent “commercialization” of the press while regularly and closely coordinating with each others in information exchange and orientation, particularly on great events or controversial issues to provide timely and accurate information to the people of all strata. It is necessary to improve management and provision of information in a more open manner, facilitate media operation, create a common voice and high unanimity between the press leading and regulatory agencies with the press for better coordination. Investment is needed to develop the modern press while implementing successful rearrangement of the media. Efforts should be made to renovate and consolidate the Party’s leadership and the State’s management efficiency and effectiveness to ensure the press moving to the right direction with efficiency when the country is developing the socialist-oriented market economy, stepping up international integration in the context of information and communication technology explosion. We must also push up institutionalization and concretization of the Party’s viewpoints and lines on the press and consolidate legal framework to prevent violations in the field. The management of the internet use and provision of electronic information on the internet must be improved. Measures should be taken to effectively prevent part of the press organizations from going astray from their visions and missions to dwell on information and products of low sense. Line agencies in their capacity as “collective director” have great responsibility in leading and managing the press.
In these days, the entire Party is organizing Party Congresses at all levels in anticipation of the 12th National Party Congress. To contribute to the success of the congress, the press organizations should fully grasp the Decree 36-CT/TW dated 30 May 2014 of the Politburo on the Party Congresses at all levels in anticipation of the 12 National Party Congress and give wide coverage of this important political event. They must also disseminate and motivate the public to take part in emulation movement to successfully implement the Resolutions of the 11th Party Congress and resolutions of the Party Central Committee while collecting people’s opinions and recommendations to the draft documents of the Congress. This is an important information channel to promote wisdom, democratic spirit, renovation and responsibility of cadres and Party members as well as people to the development of the Party’s lines. This is also an opportunity for us to confirm the Party’s unswerving stance and renovation lines, resolute struggle against distortion and allegation of hostile forces which capitalize on freedom, democracy to demand for pluralism and multi-party, take advantage of fighting against corruption and negative phenomena, inflate weaknesses and mistakes of some cadres and Party members to besmear and belittle the Vietnamese Party and State’s prestige, instigate opposition, sow suspicion leading to internal division. The press must be the vanguard in the ideological front, be vigilant and oppose the hostile forces’ dark attempts by reflecting the lively development in the renovation of the country and strengthen the people’s confidence in the Party, State and regime.
This article was published on the Communist Review No 872 (July 2015)