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Statement on the sanctioning of Towards Transparency, our national contact in Vietnam

Transparency International takes note of the administrative sanctions imposed on our partner and national contact in Vietnam, Towards Transparency.

On 14 May 2021, the Ha Noi Department of Information and Communications issued a decision to revoke Towards Transparency’s website domain and ordered them to pay a fine over a regional map that appeared on their website in January 2020. This map illustrated the results of the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index in the Asia Pacific region. The authorities concluded that, by posting a map that does not display Spratly and Paracel Islands as part of Vietnam, Towards Transparency violated the Government’s Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP dated 15 June 2013 on “management, provision and use of Internet services and online information.”

We wish to clarify that all maps and graphics relating to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index appearing on the website of Towards Transparency were provided by Transparency International. Our national contact in Vietnam, Towards Transparency, was not consulted and did not have any part, whatsoever, in the production of the map in question. As independent from each other organisations, we are also fully independent in our operations.

Transparency International fully respects the sovereignty of all nations. As a politically neutral organisation, we do not take positions with regard to disputed territories and country borders. For such guidance, we refer to the guidelines on internationally recognised borders. In the case of the borders on the map in question, they are in line with the United Nations Geospatial map for Southeast Asia.

We regret the hardship our produced map has caused for our valued partner in Vietnam, Towards Transparency. Transparency International stands in solidarity with Towards Transparency and remains hopeful that the matter will be resolved as quickly as possible, and that the Vietnamese public will not face any difficulties in accessing their impartial and independent analysis.

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Transparency International Secretariat

press@transparency.org