Music as a weapon
We live in a political world. As songwriters in the west, we can more or less overlook this fact. But there are still numerous countries where songwriting is considered a media act and is therefore subject to specific laws – notably treason.
Vo Minh Tri and Tran Vu Anh Binh were jailed for four and six years respectively in Vietnam on charges of spreading propaganda against the state for songs they recorded. They faced possible sentences of up to 20 years. Both are centred around a conflict with China, with Tri (aka Viet Khang) being the more critical of the two.
Human rights abuse
Human Rights Watch condemned the trial and called for the songwriters’ immediate release, which follows the arrest and imprisonment of bloggers. “First critics, then bloggers, then poets, and now musicians,” Phil Robertson, deputy director at the group’s Asia division, said. “The international community can no longer stand by quietly as these free speech activists are picked off one by one by Vietnam’s security apparatus.” The White House also expressed concern about the convictions. Vietnam’s communist authorities tolerate no challenges to the country’s single-party system
More details on Irrawaddy.