Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Oct 24 (IANS) Vietnam's National Assembly on Wednesday elected Lieutenant General Nguyen Manh Hung as the new Minister of Information and Communications at a time the government is silencing dissent.
Hung, 56, has been acting as interim minister since July when an official commission opened an investigation into former minister Truong Minh Tuan for alleged corruption, according to the official media.
The majority of the unicameral National Assembly on Tuesday approved the removal of Tuan before proceeding with the election of Hung, Efe news reported.
The appointment of Hung, who in the last four years served as General Director of the Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group, came the day after the unicameral legislature session opened under new conservative President Nguyen Phu Trong.
Trong, 74, is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, a position he has held since 2011.
The Vietnam Constitution considers freedom of expression and press as basic rights, with more than 850 media and 67 radio and television companies operating in the country and an Internet development pace that is among the strongest in the world.
However, the Vietnamese regime currently has 60 prisoners of conscience, including bloggers, and in June passed a cybersecurity law that, according to Amnesty International, will allow the government to control the last safe space of freedom of expression in the country.
Vietnam is among the five worst countries in the world as far as freedom of the press is concerned, according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.