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Notice on Media Access to Danang Airport Dioxin Remediation Site

Language: English | Vietnamese

USAID/Vietnam is committed to informing the public, through the media and other relevant means, on the dioxin contamination remediation project in Danang. This includes a commitment to support media access to the project site. However, access is subject to inherent constraints of the project and its location which make arranging for individual access difficult. Given these constraints, as depicted below, members of the media are requested to provide adequate lead time:

  • As the area belongs to the Government of Vietnam (GVN), the GVN must approve all requests for site access. To obtain proper GVN approvals, at least 30 days are required to process site access requests for media representatives. Foreign journalists must obtain a journalist visa to Vietnam by applying through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Foreign Press Center. MOFA will then coordinate with the Ministry of National Defense and USAID on access to the Danang Airport site. This is a complex process that can take several weeks to complete. USAID can provide information about the process but does not have any decision-making on the approval process.
     
  • The project involves major excavation and construction activities in a dioxin-contaminated site. Current activities include operation of heavy machinery and equipment for excavation, hauling and building. The site is also part of an active airport and military base.  The safety of onsite workers and visitors is critical. Therefore, it is required that all visitors receive health and safety training and must be escorted while onsite.
     
  • Visits by those not involved in the remediation work cause varying degrees of disruption to the project. Not only must safety training be provided, but the work must be slowed, altered or even stopped, depending on
    the circumstances, to accommodate the presence of visitors. This can result in increased costs, lost productivity and schedule delays, so visits must be planned to minimize disruption and keep the project on track for on-time completion.
     
  • USAID does not have staff in Danang.

Given these constraints, USAID emphasizes planning for access to the site by small groups of journalists under these conditions:

  • Interested journalists should first contact USAID with proposed dates for a site visit. USAID may not be able to accommodate certain dates for the reasons described above. In such cases, USAID will propose alternative dates to comply with the minimum requirements below.
     
  • Once a site visit date has been agreed upon by USAID and the media representative, USAID will forward the request to the GVN for site access approval.  
     
  • In general, USAID will seek to minimize disruption to the remediation work by limiting the frequency of visits to one approximately every two weeks. Visits by groups will be arranged based on language availability (English or Vietnamese), and media needs (print or audiovisual).
     
  • Also for the purpose of ensuring safety and minimizing project disruption, media access will typically occur during 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. on weekdays. Specifically, these hours are based on the availability of the key personnel needed to provide the required health and safety training to all visitors and to escort the media on the site.
     
  • The onsite contractor will provide an escorted tour of the site only in areas determined to be consistent with safety standards.
     
  • USAID's team of contractors can only provide technical project information and explain what is happening at the site. Other questions will be deferred to Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense, USAID, or the U.S. Embassy. 
     
  • If onsite access cannot be arranged within a mutually agreeable time, USAID and its GVN partners will try to suggest alternative dates. If group access cannot be arranged, individual access to the site will be considered in cases where enough lead time is provided and remediation work allows it. USAID endeavors to accommodate and will provide recent site photos and/or video b-roll for media that can use these resources. Interviews in Danang with U.S. Government officials will be considered on a case-by-case basis given that they require travel to Danang at U.S. taxpayer expense.

Last updated: September 16, 2014

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