Vietnam: When Telling the Truth Becomes a Crime: Film + Debate

17.30, Thursday 28 Feb, sal TRE

Free entry

Film + debate


When Mother’s Away

2018 / Vietnam / Dir: Clay Pham / Language: Vietnamese 

What is life like for the families of jailed activists?

In 2016, the Vietnamese activist and blogger «Mother Mushroom» was jailed, and later sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of conspiring against the Vietnamese state. She had revealed a secret site for toxic waste. After she is put away, life goes on for her children, mother and grandmother, but in a very different way. This short documentary follow the consequences of her imprisonment, on a personal level, and lets us see a different side of the human costs of unjust imprisonments.


Business between Vietnam and Norway is significant. Freedom of expression, although guaranteed in the Constitution and international treaties, is in steep decline in Vietnam. Promotion of human rights lies at the heart of our foreign policy. Are we true to this commitment?

Only in 2018, hundreds of activists have been arrested, and remain in prison for calling for justice on cases of gross corruption and abuse of power. Social media is an essential forum to raise their voice. The new cyber law that came into effect January 1st will give the authorities further control of what citizens say and do through censorship and misinformation. What can Norway do to help?


Trinh Hoi, founder of VOICE

Vi Yen, VOICE activist

Gerald Folkvord, Amnesty International Norway

Clay Pham, Director of When Mother’s Away (via Skype)

Khánh Hòa, AKA blogger Mother Mushroom (via Skype).

Moderator: Gisle Kvanvig, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

In Cooperation with Voice Norway