Making news

Liberation News Agency unique in world’s press history: VNA General Director

The Liberation News Agency (LNA) is a rare and unique case in the world’s press history, Party Central Committee member and General Director of the Vietnam News Agency Nguyen Duc Loi highlighted in his writing entitled “Liberation News Agency – a heroic news agency”, on the occasion of the 60th founding anniversary of the LNA (October 12) and its being honoured as “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces”.

Under the 1954 Geneva Agreement on peace restoration in Indochina, Vietnam was temporarily divided into two regions, pending elections to reunite the country. While the north became completely independent and began the transitional period to socialism, the south was under the rule of the Ngo Dinh Diem administration which received support and direction from the US imperialists. The US-backed administration tried to tear up the pact, and refused to negotiate with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the North to hold nationwide free elections to reunite the country within two years as provided for in the agreement.

In face of the complicated developments of the situation in the south and inevitable requirement of the revolution in the new context, the South revolution shifted from political struggle to the combination of political and armed struggles. In service of the fight, after a short preparation of personnel and equipment, the LNA aired its first news bulletin from Chang Riec forest in Tay Ninh province through its 15W transmitter on October 12, 1960. The event marked the birth of the news agency which carried out its glorious mission of creating and maintaining a smooth and timely flow of information on the fight of justice by the southern people and army for national peace and reunification to domestic and international audience.

As the LNA, the official mouthpiece of a resistance force, was born and grew up in the fiercest period of time of the resistance war against the enemy, the damage it suffered was more than any other press organisation in the world did.

In its debut, the LNA announced: “The Liberation News Agency is the official news agency of the National Front for the Liberation of the South Vietnam, with a mandate to disseminate news and combat experience of compatriots across the nation. The news agency also reflects the increasing ascendency of the revolutionary movement and the collapse of the South Vietnamese government.”

In over 15 years of operation, the LNA provided information for domestic and foreign media in a timely manner, pioneered in information and communications work, and became a key organisation in the revolutionary press in the South during the fight against the US and the initial phase of national reunification.

Besides the information work, LNA reporters and technicians also took a direct part in the fight and became real soldiers. Many of them laid down their lives in combat postures, guns in hand, and remains of some have not been found. Tens were seriously wounded, and many others are struggling against the effect of Agent Orange.

More than 240 reporters, editors, and technicians, or half of the LNA’s staff in late 1974, lost their lives carrying out information or combat missions. The LNA is the press agency with the largest number of martyr journalists in the history of Vietnamese revolutionary journalism.

Recognising such huge contributions by the LNA, the Party and State have honoured over 200 organisations and individuals of this special press organisation. On September 1, the State President decided to grant the “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” title to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of the LNA during the resistance war against the US.

The South was completely liberated on April 30, 1975, and the country subsequently reunified. On May 24, 1976, the LNA merged with the Vietnam News Agency, marking a new development stage of the news agency.

On May 12, 1977, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved the renaming of the Viet Nam Thong Tan Xa (VNTTX) into Thong Tan Xa Viet Nam (Vietnam News Agency).

The current strong growth of the VNA – the national multi-media news agency with high prestige in the global press – is a fruit of immeasurable contributions by generations of journalists, including those from the LNA./