Vietnam PM Nguyen Tan Dung calls for blogs to be 'seriously punished'
Dung blames three sites for being slanderous of country's leaders and causing mistrust in society
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered those responsible for three "slanderous" blogs, which have publicised a recent string of high-level corruption scandals, be "seriously punished".
The hugely-popular Vietnamese-language websites Dan Lam Bao - or Citizen Journalists - and Quan Lam Bao have been running a series of articles detailing an intensifying factional battle within the communist country's ruling elite.
They have "slandered the country's leadership, fabricated and distorted information, agitated against the party and the state, and caused suspicion and mistrust in society," a report on the government website said.
The blogs are "villainous ploys of hostile forces," said the report, quoting the prime minister and called for "serious punishment" for those behind the sites and ordered civil servants not to read them.
Vietnam, which prohibits private media and where all newspapers and television channels are state-run, regularly uses charges of spreading anti-state propaganda to prosecute dissidents.
The rise of online blogs has vexed censors and prompted repeated crackdowns on bloggers, many of whom are currently languishing in jail.
Dan Lam Bao revealed in an online post that after Dung's comments were broadcast on state television their site recorded a record 32,000 hits in an hour.
Over the last three months, the sites, in particular Quan Lam Bao - which translates as Senior Officials working as Journalists - have been publishing highly sensitive information about political infighting.
They ran detailed, first-hand accounts of the August arrest of one of Vietnam's top banking tycoons, flamboyant multimillionaire Nguyen Duc Kien, and the detention of the ex-head of the bank Kien founded.
Kien is seen as being aligned with the prime minister and became the subject of intense speculation on blogs over his business dealings with Dung's daughter.