Conference highlights important role of mass media hinh anh 1Domestic and foreign journalists watch as soldiers march in celebration of Vietnam’s National Day in Hanoi (Photo:VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The press plays an important role in influencing public opinion about major public issues, said delegates at a conference held on June 20 on the occasion of National Journalism Day (June 21). But a report published at the conference also highlighted reporters’ difficulties in conveying information to readers.

Former deputy of the 12th National Assembly, Nguyen Minh Thuyet, said today’s readers demand hot news but also deeper reflection, requiring media to report news and events in a clearer and more diversified manner.

Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Van Hien Vietnam online magazine, Vu Xuan Ban, said the responsibility placed on journalists requires them to always be honest, objective and patient and to always make the interests of the country and the nation a top priority, he said.

However, journalists also face many difficulties in reporting news and events, according to a study released on June 20 by the Centre for Research on Development under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.

The independent study on factors affecting journalists’ work during the 2011-15 period found that the working environment of journalists has become more complicated with higher risks.

Journalists are prevented from publishing certain information and have been threatened or attacked at a growing rate over the past five years.

In March, journalist Do Doan Hoang from the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper was attacked by three suspects while on duty and driving a motorbike near Kim Van-Kim Lu Residential Area in Hoang Mai District. He reported the incident to the district police immediately after it occurred. As an investigative journalist, his articles cast a spotlight on serious social issues, including wildlife trafficking.

Last November, two Giao Thong (Transport) newspaper reporters were attacked and their assets snatched while they were researching an investigative report on overloaded trucks carrying sand on roads in District 9 of HCM City.

In some cases journalists are unable to get access to information, and their work tools are seized or damaged to prevent them from publishing information.

Around 44 percent of 1,134 surveyed journalists said they were prevented from publishing information at least once, according to the study.

It revealed that journalists often face obstacles when reporting issues relating to social events, land management, environmental protection, investigations and prosecution.

Participants also noted that the National Assembly’s approval of the Law on Information Access was a great success in promoting transparency in Vietnam.

Editor-in-Chief of the Vietnam Audio Visual Magazine, Pham Bich San, stressed that many journalists still lack tools to report news and their stories reflect personal views rather than reality.-VNA