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Military journalists follow Ho Chi Minh’s example as a journalist

Together with the whole Party and people, journalists in Vietnam in general, within the Military in particular have been stepping up the studying and following of Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, morality and lifestyle. In this regard, improving the professional morality and competence and the quality of articles represents the most fundamental issue.

Ho Chi Minh’s journalistic style

As for each Vietnamese, Ho Chi Minh is not only a brilliant leader and great man of culture, but also a great journalist with an exemplary style and astute, highly combative and educative writings vividly, genuinely reflecting the practice. His journalistic style has added a great cachet to Vietnamese revolutionary journalism in the wars for national liberation and the country’s national reform and construction and protection. As a result, the press has become a useful tool to disseminate Marxism-Leninism, condemn colonialism and imperialism, and encourage all people to join the revolution under the Party’s leadership. Journalist Ho Chi Minh has become a shining symbol of highly combative, honest, and concise, humane writing style. His journalistic style is forever an example for the contingent of journalists to study and follow.

Maj. Gen. Do Hong Lam at the conference entitled “Military journalists follow Ho Chi Minh’s example as a journalist”

In his journalistic career, he wrote thousands of articles of all types which were translated into various languages and published on newspapers both at home and abroad. All articles written by Uncle Ho always genuinely reflected the nature of things, clarified right and wrong, not exaggerated or “blackened” things with biased information. This is the noble feature of professional morality and the root of a revolutionary journalist and a true journalist. The genuineness in Ho Chi Minh’s journalistic style was that he not only mentioned the good and the success, but also pointed out bad manners and habits, selfishness, bureaucracy, and failures to seek the remedial measures. He said: “Writing about good things only and hiding bad ones are not good. Criticizing should be correct. Mentioning good things should be moderate. This requires honesty. Our soldiers and people have full of good things to write about, it is not necessary to invent stories”. His articles expressed the grief of the people under the enemy’s yoke of bondage and subjugation as well as their joy when they enjoyed the peace of a new society, demonstrating his qualms about injustice, criticizing depraved customs and social evils, serving as a sharp tool to attack the enemy and an effective means to encourage the people to rise up against the enemy and the bad. Therefore, his works were always highly convincing, inspirational, and combative.

When he was alive, President Ho Chi Minh asked journalists to maintain political will. According to him, journalists must improve their knowledge and professional competence, and stay close to the masses; before investigating or studying, journalists should not say or write anything. At the same time, journalists must correctly define the subject, target, and method of writing. Ho Chi Minh said: “To be better at writing, you need to learn and practise more. In my experience, before you write an article, question yourself: For whom will you write? For what will you write? How will you write to make your article short, easy to read and understand? After finishing, it is better to have friends and colleagues to review and correct it”. Although the concrete subjects of articles are different, they are always the masses; therefore, mass-ness should be guaranteed by press. As for Ho Chi Minh, his articles were extremely simple, concise, and easy to understand. However, his short writings were all “well-organized, clear from the beginning to the end with practical contents”. His articles were always easy for every compatriot and soldier to read, understand, remember, and follow. Those articles express his journalistic style with the nation-ness, modernity, mass-ness, and combativeness; they are of both theoretical and practical value and still remain valid at present.

Following Ho Chi Minh’s example as a journalist

Following Ho Chi Minh’s journalistic style, over the past years, military journalists have always preserved their virtues and the principle and objective of revolutionary press, ensured and quickly provided the genuine, objective, correct, timely, vivid information about the tasks of military build-up, national defence consolidation, and Homeland defence as well as all aspects of the social life, while military press agencies have launched many movements of humanism arousing national tradition and pride. Most of military press agencies and journalists have shown their faith in the Party, Homeland, and people, always improved themselves, indentified and praised typical examples, actively fought against depraved customs, bad manners, and negative practices in the social life, heightened the virtues of Uncle Ho’s soldiers and the close-knit bonds between cadres and soldiers as well as between the military and the people, preserved and promoted national tradition and culture as well as our Military’s determination to fight and to win. Many journalists have stayed close to the masses and the isolated, remote, border, sea, island areas to create good works, thereby greatly contributing to cementing a sense of unity among the people and their faith in the Party, State, and political regime, and giving an important impetus to the Homeland construction and defence in the era of international integration.

However, some press agencies and journalists have not adhered to the guidelines and objectives of press; they have violated the professional morality and produced the articles with incorrect information that have negatively impacted on the prestige and status of military press. Many articles have only expressed the negative side of society in stead of indentifying and praising typical examples in the revolutionary action movements. Some articles have been too long without a clear objective or orientation; some have been “commercialized” or followed readers’ mediocre taste. Some articles have provided insufficient and incorrect information; consequently, the hostile forces have taken advantage of those articles to sabotage our Party and State. The work of fighting against and refuting hostile, wrong information and arguments has yet to be convincing or effective.

To meet the new requirements of the Homeland construction and protection, the press in general, the military press in particular should more strongly assert themselves and develop in a professional, modern fashion to deserve to be the voice of the Party, State, and social unions and the forum of the people, making contributions to orientating the public opinion, connecting the Party and the people, and consolidating the great national unity block. To that end, military press agencies and journalists should actively improve their political zeal and professional competence as well as study and follow Ho Chi Minh’s journalistic style.

First, following Uncle Ho’s genuineness in journalism. This is the professional quality and acts as the foundation for journalists. When writing articles, journalists must be honest, respect the truth, and avoid falsifying the information or hyping the events to gain benefits or inventing stories based on the available information. All pieces of information published must reflect the truth objectively and provide the readers with a genuine outlook on the event and situation in order to orientate public opinion. Following Ho Chi Minh’s journalistic style, the press must stay close to the tasks of military build-up, national defence consolidation, and Homeland protection, grasp the people’s aspirations, provide correct information about the situation both at home and abroad, propagate, disseminate, build and protect the Party’s guidelines, the State’s policy and law as well as the resolutions and directives by the Central Military Commission and Ministry of National Defence. At the same time, significance should be attached to indentifying and praising new elements and typical examples, clarifying wrong and right, and avoiding hyping the achievements or incorrectly reflecting difficulties and weaknesses of collectives and individuals. By doing so, the press will contribute to maintaining political stability, fostering the socio-economic development, improving the people’s intellectual level, meeting the people’s cultural demand, defending and promoting the national tradition and the virtues of “Uncle Ho’s soldiers”.

Second, heightening the combativeness and orientation-ness in each article. Combativeness is a feature of Ho Chi Minh’s journalistic style. According to him, in fact, journalism is politics, and the press is a tool of the revolution; therefore, journalists must clearly show their support for or their disapproval of the issues and events they are writing about. Under that spirit, nowadays, together with the press across the country, the military press must play an important role in fighting and preventing “peaceful evolution”, “self-evolution”, “self-transformation”, “depoliticization” and “civilization” of our Military; in defending Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, and the Party’s guidelines as well as making the Party’s ideology, socialist ideal, the nation’s cultural values, and the world’s cultural quintessence prevail in the society’s spiritual life and within the Military. At the same time, the military press must bravely fight against all objects and phenomena that threaten the benefits of the country and the Military so as to contribute to preventing and repelling corruption, wastefulness, bureaucracy, negative practices, and social evils; effectively refute hostile, wrong information and viewpoints to defend the Party’s ideological ground within the Military.

Third, studying Uncle Ho’s writing style. To follow his journalistic style, military journalists must learn how to write short, concise, and highly convincing articles. In addition to studying at schools, journalists, particularly new ones must be active in self-study and self-improvement, persistent, and especially enthusiastic and dedicated to their job. However, it is not easy to write a short article with sufficient information; journalists must work hard, rewrite it again and again, and consult their colleagues before publishing it. At the same time, they must have deep knowledge and clear, scientific outline, and persistently practise writing a short article.

Fourth, correctly indentifying the subject and goal of writing. Studying Uncle Ho’s journalistic style, during the process of journalism, journalists must adhere to the guidelines and objectives, grasp the readers’ intellectual level and thought, and always ask themselves: “For whom will we write? To whom will we say?” By doing so, journalists could correctly indentify the contents and forms of expression in accordance with the lifestyle, intellectual level, cultural tradition, and demand of each group of readers. Therefore, the press must strictly adhere to the country’s political, economic, and social issues and the Military’s training, combat readiness task, natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue, cultural environment building, ideological and discipline management, while staying close to the masses and readers to get diverse, genuine sources of information in the process of journalism. Correctly indentifying the subjects and goals is also a solution to dealing with the issue on “commercializing the press” and the articles which cause the divide of public opinion and negatively affect the consensus within the society and the people’s faith in the Party, political regime, and Military.

Following Ho Chi Minh’s example as a journalist is a requirement of utmost important to the military press agencies and journalists in the current situation. Doing so will lay a solid foundation for building a contingent of military journalists, contribute to developing the country’s press on a par with international press during the process of integration, and show the respect for President Ho Chi Minh - a great revolutionary journalist of Vietnam.

Maj. Gen. Do Hong Lam, PhD

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