How the first edition of Nhan Dan Newspaper published?

Wednesday, 2021-03-10 21:56:27
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Comrades Truong Chinh, Thep Moi and Ha Xuan Truong review the first draft issue of Nhan Dan Newspaper in 1951. (Document photo)
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NDO – Over the 28 years working under the shade of the old banyan tree at Hang Trong Street, Hanoi, where Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper is headquartered, I repeatedly asked myself that question but could not find an answer.

Even the people who worked for the Party newspaper at the Viet Bac Revolutionary Base before the liberation day of Hanoi did not know much about it because most of them worked there after Nhan Dan Newspaper had been publishing for several years.

In 1981, I returned to Hanoi from Ho Chi Minh City after a few years of traveling all over the South to write articles. I was assigned by Nhan Dan Editorial Board to hastily establish a Nhan Dan house of commemoration to launch on the 30th anniversary of the newspaper (March 11, 1951-1981), thus, the above question continued to bother me.

It was heard that there were two “insiders” of the newspaper, Thep Moi and Hoang Tung. However, Nhan Dan Editor-in-Chief Hoang Tung was in charge of a lot of work and he often came to Hang Trong Street late in the afternoon to direct and review articles. Meanwhile, journalist Thep Moi usually stayed in Ho Chi Minh City to manage the Nhan Dan Representative Office, which was established in the city after the liberation of the South and he became the Head of Nhan Dan Representative Department in the South shortly after.

In 1985, I was appointed as Editor-in-Chief of the Nguoi lam bao (Journalist Magazine), the first mouthpiece of the Vietnam Journalists’ Association, the above question once again returned to my mind because Journalist Magazine opened a column introducing leading press agencies in Vietnam such as Nhan Dan, Cuu Quoc, the Voice of Vietnam (VOV), Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Vietnam Television (VTV), and others.

Journalist Hoang Tung was still busy at that time, even busier than before, because he was elected as a member of the Secretariat in charge of ideology, culture, science and education. Fortunately, journalist Thep Moi was appointed as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Nhan Dan Newspaper, so he had to travel between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City frequently although he settled in the South.

I met him and asked him the above question. The following is what Thep Moi, one of the few insiders, told me. I summarised his opinions into a short article, published in Journalist Magazine edition No. 3 in 1985, under the pseudonym Thep Moi.

The meeting place to decide on the establishment of the newspaper was a field

The second National Party Congress was held in Viet Bac from February 11-19, 1951.

The Congress passed the Resolution to publish Nhan Dan Newspaper, the central organ of the Vietnam Labour Party. The first Editorial Board of the Party newspaper consisted of eight people, five of whom were members of the Politburo and the Secretariat including Truong Chinh, Pham Van Dong, Hoang Quoc Viet, Nguyen Chi Thanh, and Le Van Luong.

According to Thep Moi, after the Party Congress was wrapped up, at around noon between February 19 and 25, 1951, General Secretary of the Party Central Committee Truong Chinh and alternate member of the Party Central Committee To Huu met to discuss the issuance of the first edition of Nhan Dan Newspaper.

The workplace was a field next to the meeting place of the National Party Congress in Vinh Quang Commune, Chiem Hoa District, Tuyen Quang Province, with wooden trunks as desks and chairs. The assistant of the two comrades was Thep Moi, a reporter at the Party Congress.

Comrade Phan Nghiem, a film reporter at the Congress, acknowledging the historical significance of the event, quietly used a camera to record the scene of two Party leaders who were directly editing the first edition of Nhan Dan Newspaper in such a special scene. The seven-minute documentary film was separated and was not included in the documentary film about the 2nd National Party Congress.

The first issue of Nhan Dan Newspaper, dated March 11, 1951, was very honoured to announce the Platform and Charter of the Party. The main article of the first issue entitled “Ho Chi Minh, the founder, trainer and leader of our Party” was written by Truong Chinh and publicly introduced President Ho Chi Minh as the leader of the Party and our country.

The article was accompanied with a sketch of Uncle Ho's portrait by painter Le Minh Hien. Hien was a member of the Southern Association of Arts, Photography and Cinematography who was sent to Viet Bac to work to provide images on the Congress and Ho Chi Minh to people in the South.

The general report on the Congress introduced general information of the Congress process and the historical significance of the event in an effort to create a deep impression among the people who were excitedly waiting for the publicity of the Party. All are covered in an article, titled “Our Congress ...” by Thep Moi.

The content of the article was broadly reflecting the atmosphere and spirit from the Party Congress because reporters were allowed to directly attend and follow the discussions at the Congress. Since then, Thep Moi created his own unique form, genre, and style of writing. The article was highly appreciated by Truong Chinh and To Huu, the two comrades in charge of the first issue of Nhan Dan Newspaper.

There were two days left to go through the forest

The meeting decided that the first issue of Nhan Dan Newspaper will be published on March 11, 1951. All the articles, news, and illustrations of that issue were reviewed and commented by Truong Chinh and To Huu, and then they were handed over to Thep Moi to bring the manuscript to the printing house.

It took Thep Moi a day and a half walking in the forest to travel from Ngoi Trinh, which was the meeting place of the 2nd Party Congress and also the editing place of the first issue of Nhan Dan Newspaper, to Khuon Cam (Cho Chu), the former headquarters of the newspaper.

Arriving at Khuon Cam, he presented the entire issue to Hoang Tung, who was directly in charge of the newspaper. Truong Chinh and To Huu decided to put Hoang Tung's name on the last page of Nhan Dan Newspaper as the Editor-in-Chief. This was a legal necessity, proving that the Party respected the laws that the State regulated on publishing the press in the context of the resistance war.

Editor-in-chief Hoang Tung read the entire draft of the first issue that evening and also instructed Thep Moi on the printing and publishing of the issue. The next morning, Thep Moi walked alone again to bring all the articles to Viet Hung Printing House, a newly established printing house located at the foot of Deo Khe (Khe Pass), near the main traffic axis to facilitate the distribution of newspapers across the country. It took him another half a day to walk from Khuon Cam to Deo Khe.

When the manuscripts of the newspaper arrived, all workers at the printing house rushed into round-the-clock typesetting with unprecedented excitement.

Right after the first Nhan Dan editions were of the printer, military postmen promptly brought them to the 18th Road Front along the Bach Dang River to deliver to soldiers before the launch of the Campaign.

PHAN QUANG