Vietnam English daily closes, blames global crisis

HANOI: A Vietnamese newspaper that helped expose a major corruption scandal announced on Saturday it was shutting down its daily English-language print edition, citing difficulties caused by the global economic crisis.

In a front-page note to readers, Thanh Nien Daily said it was being transformed into a weekly paper to be launched on Friday, September 4.

Thanh Nien is a popular Vietnamese-language daily, the publication of which will continue despite the closure of the English edition, which has been produced for almost two years.

Its demise leaves the state Vietnam News, published by the official Vietnam News Agency, as the country's only English-language paper to appear seven days a week.

Like all media in Vietnam, Thanh Nien is linked to the state. It is published in southern Ho Chi Minh City by the Vietnam Youth Federation.

The 16-page daily English edition -- professionally designed and complete with local and international news, sports, business and features -- regularly published investigations and exposes of health and environmental issues.

One of Thanh Nien's journalists was sentenced in 2008 to two years in prison for his role in revealing a graft case that centred on a transport ministry unit whose officials squandered foreign aid on gambling and high living.

"We've reached scores of diplomats, businesspeople, students, teachers and tourists, many of whom have expressed their appreciation of our efforts," Thanh Nien wrote on Saturday.

"However, keeping up with the demands of publishing a daily English paper has become increasingly difficult due to the global economic crisis."

There were very few advertisements in the English daily.

Thanh Nien's weekly edition will be 40 pages, supplemented by daily updates to an English-language website, it said.

Another English newspaper, The Saigon Times Daily, publishes an eight-page edition five times a week and bills itself as Vietnam's "leading business daily."