Thursday, March 24, 2022, 13:52 (GMT+7)
Defamation of officials - the "old wine in new bottle" trick of hostile forces

Now and then, slandering and defaming others are considered acts of "mean people", but they are tricks favoured by subversive forces against Viet Nam. Their purposes are to discredit cadres, especially senior leaders of the Party and State, causing internal divisions, creating discord in society, and undermining people's trust. These tricks of "old wine" in "new bottle" are very dangerous which should be identified and eliminated as soon as possible.

“Old wine”

Disseminating fabricated and distorted information in order to defame officials and “opponents" to fight against, splinter, weaken and distrust the opponents from inside is one of the dangerous subversive tactics that has long been applied in the world. Currently, this tactic is implemented by well-trained people, with the support of science and technology, making it more and more popular and sophisticated. Being failed to subdue Vietnam revolution by force, hostile forces have changed their strategy to "peaceful evolution" aiming to undermine all aspects of our country's social life. In ideological and political aspects, defaming and demeaning cadres and party members have been considered by hostile forces as key contents to fight. They have conducted them proactively, continuously, and moderately; combining sophisticated, blatant, and cunning measures from distorting history, denying the contributions of revolutionary elders to smearing and defaming the incumbents. Their popular forms include: distorting, fabricating backgrounds and past actions of cadres as well as violating their private life, family life, etc. They even make use of health issues of high-ranking cadres to speculate and deduce the political situation of the country, etc. In order to highlight their efficiency, hostile forces often release information that defames officials at the time of political sensitiveness, such as: before, during and after important political events and anniversaries of the country, like the Party congress, the election of deputies to the National Assembly and all-level People's Councils, etc. The essence is still to fabricate information, distorting the truth to undermine the reputation of individuals, causing disunity, "self-evolution", and "self-transformation" internally, making confusions and suspicions in society, and creating favourable conditions for them to carry out their sabotage. They make use of the degeneration and metamorphosis of a part of cadres and civil servants, distorting that it is the essence of the social system, the nature of our Party and State, undermining the trust of the people in the Party, the State and the socialism.

“New bottles”

The trick of defaming cadres and party members has long been carried out by hostile forces to undermine our country's revolution. Moreover, taking advantage of the development of science and technology, the internet, and social networks, this trick has been implemented more broadly; its tactics are covered by more sophisticated "new bottles". In the past, contents that were used to defame cadres were often taken from news, events and actions of cadres then. Now, in this interconnected world, it is easy for the hostile forces to find topics then supplement information and distort the news to defame cadres. They dig up everything, from the past to the present, about the personal life, social relations, working style, and capacity, etc. of officials and party members. Even just a single action or statement of an official could be analysed, dissected, and distorted to make up stories. In the past, their targets were usually senior officials or cadres who had direct contact with the people; but now all cadres and party members are not excluded.

They exploit the internet and cyberspace to increase the social impact. Not only could it spread quickly, reach every corner, but also cause unlimited suspicion. The methods of smearing and releasing distorted information are also very diverse and sophisticated. They often exploit, distort information, and build up stories about officials.

To achieve their goal, the hostile forces have applied all possible methods; including the application of "artificial intelligence" technology to fake images, and clips defaming officials and then post them on social networks. They even set up "pitfalls" to provoke, cause officials to lose control in specific situations then shooting clips, taking pictures and build up new stories to ignite social dissidence.

In reality, bad news has wings. And when it is posted on internet and virtual community, the effect is multiplied by manipulation of hostile forces. Moreover, they are also experts in hyping things up to attract followers and create hot news. From a minor inappropriate action of a cadre, they can draw up a panorama picture of ethics, lifestyle, and civil service culture, etc. of an entire agency or unit, and even of the society and then compare it with the situation in other countries, despite the lameness of that comparison. More dangerously, in order to lead public opinion in accordance with their scheme, they block or remove conflicting comments, causing panic even for those with appropriate points of view.

Be aware to identify right from wrong

It is clear that, no matter how sophisticated tricks of the hostile forces are, their essence remains unchanged, just "new bottle, old wine". Their purpose is to overthrow the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and to abolish the socialist regime in our country. Therefore, cadres and party members should be aware to identify right from wrong. It is said that "No one is perfect." In the country's cause of construction in the transitional period to socialism, it is impossible to avoid shortcomings and weaknesses, especially in leadership and management. Among a large number of cadres and party members, it is inevitable that there will be someone who make mistakes. To limit that, our Party and State have issued regulations and laws with strict sanctions to manage, educate, deter, and strictly handle cadres and party members violating the regulations and laws. Every cadre and party member has to undergo a process of striving and training to achieve certain criteria and standards of moral qualities, qualifications and capabilities. Each agency and unit has its own regulations and cultural standards for its officials and party members to follow. The specific manifestations of "self-evolution" and "self-transformation" are pointed out by our Party in the Resolution of the 4th Central Committee (12th tenure); specific regulations on responsibilities of setting an example of cadres and party members; Regulation No. 37-QD/TW, dated October 25, 2021 of the Central Committee (13th tenure) on what Party members are not allowed to do; The whole political system and our people are promoting studying and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality and lifestyle, etc. These are efforts of the Party and State to prevent and reduce the manifestation of degeneration and metamorphosis of cadres and party members, etc.

In practice, thousands of cadres and party members have been disciplined and prosecuted, including the senior ones. But those are just "worms that make the soup pot"; these phenomena cannot be equated with the nature of the Party and the regime. The equitable practice and spirit of working hard for the people and for the country of the majority of cadres, party members, and leaders of the Party and State are proofs to refute all distortions of the hostile forces.

Our Party and State desperately need sincere criticisms, constructive suggestions, in accordance with the law to criticise, condemn and denounce the bad practices and weaknesses of cadres and party members, as a basis for doing business, cleanliness within the Party and State apparatus. But we also resolutely punish those who take advantage of social criticism, in the name of "the people" to slander, distort, and defame the honour and dignity of others. In our country, the Constitution and laws have a number of provisions protecting human rights, honour, reputation, personal and family secrets, prohibiting acts of fabricating, distorting, slandering and defaming these human rights. The Article 21 of the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2013) stipulates: “Everyone is entitled to the inviolability of personal privacy, personal secrecy and familial secrecy; and has the right to protect his or her honour and prestige". The Criminal Code 2015, amended and supplemented in 2017 and the Law on Criminal Procedure (2015) stipulate the application of specific sanctions for the crime of slandering, fabricating or spreading distorted information in order to seriously insult to the others’ dignity and honour or offend to the legitimate rights and interests of others. When committing this crime, depending on the severity and nature of the slander, the individual or organisation that commits the crime may be liable to a fine of at least VND 10,000,000 or face to a penalty of up to 07 years imprisonment, especially for those who commit dirty crimes. Article 117 of this Law further stipulates: “Any person, for the purpose of opposing the State of Socialist Republic of Vietnam, commits any of the following acts shall face a penalty of 05 - 12 years imprisonment: making, storing, spreading information, materials, items that contain distorted information to cause dismay among the people. An extremely serious case of this offence shall carry a penalty of 10 - 20 years imprisonment.” Not only the laws of Vietnam, but also international laws and regulations protect people's privacy and personal rights. Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides for the right to privacy, affirming: no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home, correspondence, or unlawful attacks on honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Thus, international and Vietnam laws have set forth regulations and sanctions to properly handle organisations and individuals that misrepresent, fabricate, and defame others for bad purposes. However, behind these "small" acts are always the malicious political intrigues of forces that oppose our country's revolution. This requires each of us to be aware to identify the true nature, not to assist them while actively fight to abolish them from social life.

Senior Colonel TRUONG THANH QUANG, Military School of Military Region 5

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