Despite of the on-going state media’s campaign of vilification, Church officials have put pressure on a newspaper seeking an apology for recent attacks against Hanoi Archbishop.

The entire statement of Hanoi Archbishop must be put on the New Hanoi newspaper, the first state controlled press seized on an isolate phrase in a comment by the archbishop and pulled it out of context to make him appear unpatriotic; Church officials say.

On Saturday Sep. 20, Msgr. Joseph Ngo went to the People’s Committee to protest the abrupt demolition of the nunciature. The next day, the paper covered the meeting, praising the prelate for a peaceful dialogue that helped promote mutual understanding between the archdiocese and the committee. However, 24 hours later, it re-covered the same meeting with an opposite tone. It truncated and took out of context a remark in the Archbishop's statement in a deliberate attempt to fabricate then defame the innocent archbishop, paving the way for series of criticism against him. Along with a new report was a warning from Nguyen The Thao, threatening the prelate with legal actions.

Fr. Pham Van Dung, spokesperson of the college of priests in Hanoi archdiocese stated that “We as delegates at the aforementioned meeting, affirm that the content of the archbishop's statement had only expressed a desire to have a dialogue, a wish to see the grand-union of Vietnamese people in order for our country to be as developed and prosperous as the neighboring countries.”

Full texts of the Archbishop as well as of the delegates participating in the meeting with the Hanoi's People committee on Sept. 20 were recorded by both sides. “These recordings would serve as authenticated proofs for a reflection of a good will from the archbishop toward his homeland and his Church,” he added.

He sent a rebuttal to state media including the Vietnam State Television and Hanoi Radio-Television asking for an official apology.

So far, the New Hanoi newspaper has ignored the archdiocese’s request. However, “The state-run ‘Catholics and People’ magazine (despite of its name, it’s a state-run publication) put the entire statement of Hanoi Archbishop on its latest weekly issue,” Fr. Joseph from Hanoi reported. “It’s not enough. They attacked us on media outlets with millions of audiences, and then put the correction on a magazine with hundreds of readers,” he argued.