Company's harassment suit against Hanoi culture department dismissed

By Pham Du   August 2, 2023 | 10:32 pm PT
The Hanoi People’s Court has dismissed as frivolous Vietart Media Limited Company’s lawsuit against the city Department of Culture and Sports alleging harassment while granting permissions to organize events.
The court hearing on August 2, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

The Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports pleaded not guilty of withholding permission for Vietart to organize the "Tieng Trong Me Linh" (The Drum Sound of Me Linh) cai luong performance. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Du

At a hearing Wednesday afternoon the department pleaded not guilty of withholding permission for Vietart to organize the "Tieng Trong Me Linh" (The Drum Sound of Me Linh) cai luong performance.

Vietart’s lawsuit claimed that the department had "prolonged the administrative formalities procedure," "deliberately caused trouble" for it in licensing the cai luong show.

It said over one month after it had applied for permission on August 5, 2022, the agency had demanded documents not in the required list.

The department then granted the permission on October 3, 2022, nine days before the date of the performance, leaving it without enough time to promote the show, it said.

As a result, it was able to sell only 200 out of 1,100 tickets. In addition, the department's request for a rehearsal of the show three days prior to the date of the performance made it spend more to cover flights and accommodations expenses, it claimed.

It demanded VND672 million (around $28,300) from the department to recompense the loss, and a symbolic VND1,100 in damages for the harm caused to its reputation.

The department denied all these claims.

It said it had not "deliberately caused trouble" for Vietart, as it had granted the company permissions for four other art events in 2022, all of which were given on time.

Vietart had not obtained permissions from the copyright owner of "Tieng Trong Me Linh," so it had requested the company to submit additional approvals, it claimed.

Regarding the date of the rehearsal, it said it needed three days to review the performance, especially the lines and artists' costumes.

In summary, it claimed it "had not caused any losses" and refused "all [of Vietart's] demands for compensations."

The court concurred with the department that it had followed mandatory licensing requirements.

It said with many overseas Vietnamese singers participating in the show, the department’s requests were meant "to guarantee political and social security" and were "in accordance with the law."

It also noted that Vietart had not raised any concerns with the department during the licensing process, and failed to comply with laws on authors’ rights, which led to the follow-up demands.

It ordered Vietart to pay VND300,000 for first-instance judgment court fees and another VND30 million for civil court fees.

The company said it plans to appeal.

"We did not have any other choice when we decided to sue [a government] body like this," a company spokesperson said.

"Tieng Trong Me Linh" is a classic cai luong play written in 1977 about the Trung Sisters, who led the fight against the Chinese in the 1st century.

go to top