Officials at Vietnam's Ministry of Culture ordered the closure of a popular, liberal student newspaper for three months, while managers were ordered to punish members of staff found to be responsible for what they deemed to be crude and misleading stories. The Sinh Vien Vietnam - or Vietnam Students - has a circulation of about 30,000, according to its publisher, and is popular with young people. The weekly belongs to a stable of larger newspapers as one of the mouthpieces of the Communist Party's mass organisation, the Youth Union. The student paper had made a number of serious mistakes, according to the Ministry of Culture decision, which was reported yesterday in the state dailies. The most serious was the publication of a photograph of Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Vietnam and a national icon, along with pictures of the currency, the dong, and the communist hammer and sickle under the headline, 'Risks for uninformed people'. That report was published in May last year. The offending articles also included a story about a young student who lost his underwear while playing sport. The editor of the Sinh Vien declined to comment, but a regular reader of the paper said it often carried pictures of scantily clad models and promoted a liberal lifestyle. The Ministry of Culture said it had ordered the paper off the streets while managers worked to improve its quality. Those who are held responsible for the offending articles could face job transfers and fines. However, that decision rests with the ministry and its ideology and culture committee. The temporary closure of the paper is the latest example of the government's suppression of freedom of expression. Media lobby group Reporters Without Borders recently ranked Vietnam among the 10 worst countries in the world for press freedom, while Human Rights Watch has expressed concern at the jailing of internet dissidents. Pham Hong Son, a doctor working for a pharmaceutical company, was last month jailed for 13 years for espionage after he translated and disseminated information on the internet, including an article about democracy from the US State Department website.