Vietnam state-run paper fined for critical article

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News,World,Vietnam,Press Freedom

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam's government has fined a state-run newspaper 40 million dong ($1,900) for an article that said four of history's most famous communist leaders were also among the "most notorious dictators," state media said Friday.

The online version of Law and Society was fined last month for "untrue information" in the Jan. 11 article, the Journalists and Public Opinion newspaper reported.

Among the "most notorious dictators in history" mentioned in the article were former Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Cuba's Fidel Castro and China's Mao Zedong.

Vietnam — a communist, one-party country — adopted Marxism and Leninism as its official ideology.

Lenin was described in the article as sending those who opposed communist rule to labor camps where a "series of executions" took place.

"Most of Cuba's people consider Fidel as a monster that destroyed Cuba," the article said. It also said that Mao's policies caused the deaths of millions of Chinese.

"Some of the most famous figures in history were remembered for their bad acts and the dictatorship they created during their rule," the article said. "We have known many brutal leaders who conducted the most brutal acts that mankind has ever witnessed."

The other dictators included in the article were Germany's Adolf Hitler, Italy's Benito Mussolini, Spain's Francisco Franco, Cambodia's Pol Pot, Uganda's Idi Amin and Mexico's Porfirio Diaz.

The article was removed from Law and Society's online version, but is still available on some dissident blogs.

The editor of Law and Society, which is published by the Hanoi Justice Department, declined to comment. Officials at the Ministry of Information and Communications were not immediately available for comment.

All media outlets in Vietnam are state-controlled.

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