For the staff of the PAN in particular and all military journalists in general, former Party General Secretary and former Director of the General Department of Politics Le Kha Phieu was a great leader and a dear big brother.

Whenever meeting with journalists, he always created an open and comfortable atmosphere. He actively shared with journalists not only important international and domestic affairs but also daily issues. He attentively listened to stories told by journalists and discussed with them pressing issues of public concern. As a leader of the largest military press agency, I had several chances to listen to Director of the General Department of Politics Le Kha Phieu’s profound views on journalism and qualities of revolutionary journalists.

Late Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu

As Director of the General Department of Politics and Party General Secretary, General Phieu visited the PAN several times. Each time, he expressed a lot of care for the development of the newspaper as well as the building of a contingent of military journalists that have good knowledge of politics. According to him, all revolutionary journalists, particularly military journalists, should have a firm political and ideological foundation. Without a firm political standing, a journalist might write politically-wrong things on the newspaper, going against the Party’s and State’s policies. He instructed that the PAN is an organ of the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense, the voice of the People’s Armed Forces and the people, so its leadership should enhance political education for its editors, reporters and workers. Any political mistake on the newspaper would undermine the newspaper’s glorious history.

On October 20, 1993, General Phieu visited the PAN on the occasion of the 43rd the newspaper’s founding anniversary. He hailed the achievements that the newspaper had obtained over the past 43 years. In his remarks, he also underlined that all staff members of the PAN should frequently study and grasp all guidelines and policies of the Party and State. Editors and reporters of the newspaper should have a strategic vision and good knowledge of politics, military, security, foreign relations, society and culture, as well as abilities to analyze situations and make forecasts about domestic and international situations.

Although the instructions were given 27 years ago, they are still meaningful to the staff of the PAN today. We are living in the age of the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). In fact, Industry 4.0 with quite a few new technologies is quickly changing the face of the press sector. Nevertheless, humans remain the main and decisive factor in the making of any journalism products. Thus, editors and reporters of a newspaper should always have comprehensive knowledge to distinguish between the right and the wrong as well as to honor the good and criticize the bad. Especially, they should have a firm political viewpoint so that they can protect the Party’s ideology and fight wrongful views by hostile forces.  

What happened in former Eastern European socialist countries and the former Soviet Union at the turn of the 1990s hints that the lack of political education in their armed forces was an important factor in the meltdown of the Eastern European socialist system. Therefore, the late Party General Secretary usually reminded leaders at all levels to pay due attention to the cultural and ideological front, as reactionary and hostile forces often set up cultural and ideological forums to break the great national unity bloc and undermine the Party and State. According to him, the People’s Army Newspaper as a leading press agency of the Vietnamese revolutionary press system should have good articles with sharp, convincing arguments against reactionary, hostile forces’ wrongful views on the newspaper, helping the people identify their plots and tricks while consolidating people’s understanding and trust in the Party’s and State’s policies.

Following the instructions of the former Party General Secretary, all editors and reporters of the PAN have continuously improved their political knowledge, professional expertise and moral virtues. The newspaper has always preserved the principle of the revolutionary press while publishing its issues.

On the one hand, the newspaper disseminates the Party’s guidelines and State’s policies. On the other hand, it tries to cover all major political, social, economic, cultural issues and external affairs, and reflect activities of the military. It attaches importance to spreading good examples, but also strongly criticized wrongdoings and mistakes of branches, localities and officials at all levels.

Its leadership pays much attention to improving its staff’s professional expertise, skills, moral virtues, and encourages its journalists to go to military units to faithfully reflect their activities as well as lives of soldiers.     

After hearing the news about the passing of the former Party General Secretary, all former and current leaders and staff of the People’s Army Newspaper feel so sad. In the mournful atmosphere, we recall the meetings with him as well as his valuable instructions. We promise the late Party General Secretary to unfailingly drill in revolutionary virtues, improve our political knowledge and professional qualifications, and make more contributions to national development and defense causes. We are committed to wholeheartedly serving the Fatherland and the people, working hard, and restlessly improving ourselves to deserve the title “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” and “Revolutionary Journalists.”

Let us pay our last respects to the former Party General Secretary!

Written by former Editor-in-Chief Lieutenant General Le Phuc Nguyen

Translated by Thu Nguyen