SEAPA informally began issuing Alerts on incidents related to press freedom violations with the 2003 government raid on the offices of Malaysiakini, an independent online news website. Formalization of the system and regularization of Alerts began in 2004 with the partnership with IFEX, when SEAPA took on the task as time-sharing editor/coordinator of IFEX Alerts, through a full-time staff responsible for receiving and coordinating such material. The production of SEAPA alerts has been sustained over the years and has been an integral and core element of SEAPA’s work.
What is an Alert?
An ‘alert’ is a news report of an incident of a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (FOE), usually focusing on violations related to the press or media. Alerts are produced from verified incidents by the SEAPA secretariat or by member and partner organizations and individuals, who are part of the alerts network.
Role of SEAPA Alerts
SEAPA alerts highlight FoE violations in Southeast Asian countries as a first step toward efforts to stop or prevent them from recurring. It is also a key tool of the larger SEAPA’s Campaigns and Advocacy program. For key incidents indicative of main FOE issues in a country, SEAPA alerts may be further reported to official human rights bodies concerned with FOE. These can also become the basis of SEAPA emergency action or specific FOE issue country of regional campaigns.