The Philippines is not unlike other countries in the region that had their national polls recently, such as Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand, where governments had kept a close watch on the media – a tacit acknowledgment of the power of what is often dubbed the Fourth Estate to keep public officials in check, not to mention ensure a well-informed and engaged citizenry whose votes and collective opinions could upend authoritarian rulers’ determined effort to keep their grip on power – at all costs.
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance is a regional network of organizations working together to defend and promote genuine press freedom and freedom of expression in Southeast Asia. Established in November 1998, it has 12 members in 7 countries in Southeast Asia. The organization operates from Bangkok through a regional secretariat, which is governed by its Board of Trustees.
SEAPA is registered as a non-profit and non-governmental “association” under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code under the name “Association of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance”.