Just five days after Sai Gon and the south of Viet Nam were liberated, the daily newspaper Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) was published and distributed nationwide. The daily, the only newspaper in Sai Gon at that time, was the voice of the Party Committee of Sai Gon-Gia Dinh, which is now the Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.
Sai Gon Giai Phong has inherited the traditions of the newspapers of the Party Committee of Sai Gon-Gia Dinh, such as Cam Tu and Chong Xam Lang in the resistance war against French colonists; and Ngon Co Gia Dinh, Co Khoi Nghia and Co Giai Phong in the resistance war against American imperialism.
As an organ of the Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, Sai Gon Giai Phong determined in the beginning days that it exists for the voice of the Ho Chi Minh City people.
The first edition board included journalists from revolutionary bases and agents among journalists in Sai Gon before liberation. Comrade Vo Nhan Ly was the first Editor-in-Chief. The first reporters were journalists from revolutionary bases, agents among journalists in former Sai Gon and those from the north.
With its ceaseless efforts, after a short time, Sai Gon Giai Phong became a popular food for the mind for the public in Ho Chi Minh City, neighboring provinces and the Mekong Delta. The reader considered Sai Gon Giai Phong a newspaper of the south as a whole.
The Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City decided on July 1, 1981, to publish the newspaper in the morning, with six pages instead of four, to better serve the reader.
Since 1986, together with the doi moi policies, Sai Gon Giai Phong has sought to improve the quality. As of February 27, 1994, the Sunday issue was printed with four colors. All seven issues of the week have been printed with four colors since December 1, 1997. To convey more information to the reader, Sai Gon Giai Phong had eight pages as of October 1, 1998.
Together with improving quality of information and design to make the publication more beautiful, Sai Gon Giai Phong published more publications. In late 1977, the Chinese-language newspaper Hoa Van Giai Phong became a publication of Sai Gon Giai Phong. This Chinese-language daily has gained more and more readers. On January 1, 1991, Sai Gon Giai Phong published the weekend magazine called Sai Gon Giai Phong thu bay, distributing it nationwide. Then on March 7, 1996, Sai Gon Giai Phong published a sport daily called Sai Gon Giai Phong The Thao. Right in the beginning, the sport daily was welcomed and obtained the reader confidence, with the number of distributed copies increasing continually. The publication has become a leading sport newspaper in the country.
Early in the second quarter of 1980, Sai Gon Giai Phong opened the economic column, running information about new products and items in the market, goods for barter and the like. On July 1, 1981, the newspaper had the advertising section, running information about sales of cars and houses, beauty salons, make-up service and so on. At first, the section covered only one-third of page, then to half a page, and then a whole page, but it did not become a separate sheet yet. When the advertising section covered two pages, it became a separate sheet.
Whenever an important event in the world took place, Sai Gon Giai Phong published hot issues to provide the reader with hot news. For example, the hot issues about the Iraq War in 1991, the World Cups and the Southeast Asian Games.
To expand the network, Sai Gon Giai Phong opened the Ha Noi Representative Office at 58 Le Van Huu Street in late 1993. Sai Gon Giai Phong set up a liaison office for the Mekong Delta at 79 Quang Trung Street, Can Tho City in 1994, and a liaison office for the central region at 123 Trung Nu Vuong Street, Da Nang City in 1995.
Sai Gon Giai Phong has had its own distribution network since it came into being, while some other media organizations started doing this not so long ago. Sai Gon Giai Phong copies are delivered to the address of the subscribers before 6 a.m. if they are in inner-city areas, and before 9 a.m. if they are in suburban areas. At present, Sai Gon Giai Phong copies are delivered to readers on the publishing day not only for those living in Ca Mau, Da Lat, Da Nang, but also in Ha Noi and Hai Phong.
Sai Gon Giai Phong was defined by the city’s Party Standing Committee as an “administrative organization with income” but the paper soon entered in the accounts and is financially independent. The organization has bought printing machines to print the publications, paid tax to the Government and contributed money to the Party’s fund, with dozens of billions of dong per year.
The paper, in addition, launched several programs to support the community such as
- Charitable activities
- A scholarship fund to help good medical students from poor families. (The scholarship fund is named after late doctor Nguyen Van Huong, who was awarded a Labor Hero Order)
- Annual Vo Truong Toan Prize , presented to the city’s good teachers on the Viet Nam Teachers’ Day, November 20 every year.
-Annual Prize for Good Literature and Handwriting, presented to secondary school pupils.
- Annual Golden Ball title for the footballers of the year.
- Music program Dong Thoi gian to raise fund for charitable activities.
So far, Sai Gon Giai Phong has so far sought to keep and maintain its principle as the organ of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee and the voice of the Ho Chi Minh City People. The newspaper contributed to keeping stability in the city after the war, helping the public know more about the State’s policies and reinforcing solidarity among the different peoples in the country.
The newspaper also contributed to encouraging the public to overcome difficulties and challenges in the post-war time when the whole economy
faced numerous difficulties and the country had to protect the borders. Sai Gon Giai Phong has also described new ways of thinking and working, discovered individuals and entities devoting to the development of the country. The area on the newspaper for the voice of the Ho Chi Minh City people has been expanding and the city residents have considered the newspaper a forum to express their point of view to do good to the public.
Sai Gon Giai Phong has also helped the reader get an appropriate point of view for the situations in Viet Nam and around the world. The newspaper has also organized seminars and workshops on economics, society, culture and so on. The newspaper pays attention to not only national and international news but also runs information about the daily life of people.
The fight against the bad, bureaucracy, corruption and social evils is always a hard combat. So far, Sai Gon Giai Phong has been taking efforts to support the fight and this has brought good results.
Sai Gon Giai Phong always fights against inappropriate viewpoints, and protects revolutionary ideals and results of the Party and the Vietnamese people, protects Marxism-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh’s thought, as well as the communist direction and the communist ideals. The newspaper has sought to expose plots of anti-revolution forces from outside. Sai Gon Giai Phong often makes propaganda to strengthen the Party and State, works to build up solidarity among the different peoples in Viet Nam and friendship with the peoples of other countries.
The Party Committee’s leadership is the most decisive factor in the development of Sai Gon Giai Phong over the past many years. Party officials have often given instructions to the newspaper’s management and encouragement to the staff. The leadership and support from different organizations have facilitated the newspaper a lot. The Central agencies and leaders of other provinces have given Sai Gon Giai Phong lots of sentiment.
Sai Gon Giai Phong always keeps in mind the contributions from all readers who have given their energy and brain to the newspaper of the Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.