2003 Fellowship: Covering the Region in Rising Conflicts

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Across the Border: Southeast Asian Chronicles (compilation of articles from the 2002 to 2004 fellowships)

While the end of Cold War brought peace to Cambodia and turned fragmented Southeast Asia into one organization under one roof, transnational problems have factored in and landed nation states and state and the people into conflicts of interests. These conflicts are far more complex as they require understandings of related laws and polices of parties involved, human rights and investigative reporting skills.

Nevertheless, journalists have failed to understand this regional trend and at times lagged behind. Many of them are used to short-live news scoop, ignoring investigative or in-depth reporting of these conflicts, which need patience and thorough understanding and neutrality.

The financial crisis showed that journalists were unprepared to act as an early warning system to the public of an impending crisis. They lacked ability and capacity to understand, let alone analyze the statistics and numerous economic data, for ordinary people available. They failed to gauge the magnitude of the crisis.

The 2003 Journalism Fellowship provided the opportunity for journalists to investigate some of the implications to the region as a result of the social, economic and political changes.

The 2003 Fellows

Alfian Hamzah is an Indonesian freelance journalist. He ventured into Mindanao, Philippines, trying to entangle police’s surreptitious investigations that implicated an Indonesian Mujahideen in the bombings of Churches in Mindanao and McDonald’s outlet in Makassar last year.

Article: Oh, What a Tangled Web They Weave

Bhanravee Tansubhapol reports for the Bangkok Post on regional issues including diplomacy. She tabbed an opportunity offered by 2003 SEAPA Fellowship Program to follow up on Thai-Cambodian Relation in the aftermath of January’s Torching of Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh.

Article: Many Mornings After

Jofelle P. Tesorio is a environment reporter working for Bandillo ng Palawan daily. She was long interested in the social and environmental impact of the palm oil industry in Indonesia. This fellowship program granted her chance to investigate the issues and discover much more. “ I met helpful sources and connection,” she said.

Article: Broken Promise

Mic Mic Villaflor is a senior report of Mindanao Times. She ventured to Cambodia, her first foreign country to visit. Despite many difficulties, not all unexpected, she witnessed the secluded lives of remaining members of Khmer Rouge clique, most of whom refused to talk to foreign journalists.

Article: A Rouge Town

Moch Faried Cahyono is writing for Forum Keadilan, an Indonesia’s political and social magazine. He discovered he was not writing for SEAPA on the plights of Indonesian migrants in Malaysia but for his own book. His story is very informative.

Article: Down and Out in Malaysia

Yee Siong Tong is political reporter of Malaysiakini.com. The Malaysian reporter visited Aceh in mid June, a month after Indonesia Army imposed martial law on the province to suppress the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). He attempted to analyze the army’s motivation beyond the suppression.

Article: Military Ghosts in Aceh