In Vietnam, 69 political prisoners are currently detained for posting a critical message on Facebook, Amnesty International said in a report (pdf) on freedom of expression and the role of social media in the Southeast Asian country.

44 of the prisoners of conscience are serving a sentence of between nine months and eleven years, according to the human rights organization.

The remaining 25 people are in jail awaiting a possible conviction.

"Vietnam is one of the most oppressive environments in the world today when it comes to online freedom of expression," Amnesty wrote.

At the time of publication, Amnesty International has at least 170 prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, the largest number since Amnesty International started the censuses in the country. This includes 69 people detained for peacefully exercising their right to express themselves online. . "

More than half (37 people) have been detained after a critical report about the Vietnamese Communist Party.

Other people came into contact with the state after (citizen) journalistic activities or after posting something about the Dong Tam incident on Facebook, for example.

Vietnam restricts freedoms in response to national unrest

In January, an 84-year-old representative for Dong Tam was shot dead after police officers from the capital Hanoi broke into the municipality over a ground dispute with the government.

The Vietnamese government claims the land of the villagers, who oppose it.

Three years ago, the land issue led to the arrest of four villagers, after which police officers in Dong Tam were held hostage for several days.

"The Dong Tam incident sparked national outrage in Vietnam at the time, and Facebook was the main platform on which public debate took place," Amnesty wrote.

"The government responded with a national crackdown on online freedom of speech."

According to the human rights organization, at least six people have been detained after they posted something about Dong Tam on Facebook.