[Philippines] THE STATE OF MEDIA: Relentless Attacks and Threats Online, On Ground, Across the Nation

Today, the ninth anniversary of the Ampatauan Massacre of 23 November 2009, we call on Filipinos to support press freedom and to come to the defense of those in media who struggle working within the narrowing space and time, to counter false narratives and disinformation, and to check the abuse of power.

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[Singapore] JOINT STATEMENT: Stop Defamation Probe of The Online Citizen

The heavy-handed investigation by the Singapore police of The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu, accused of criminal defamation over an article published in September, has set the alarm bells ringing again in a country that is known for stifling independent voices. We, the undersigned, view this development with extreme concern, noting the unrelenting use of repressive policies to silence free speech.

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[Singapore] The Online Citizen’s editor released after eight hours of police custody, interrogation

For allegedly besmirching the reputation of some of Singapore’s highest officials, the editor of a major independent online platform in the city-state has become the subject of a police probe. Terry Xu, chief editor of The Online Citizen (TOC) is the respondent to a criminal defamation case that is being investigated by police.

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[Philippines] SEAPA denounces gov’t indictment of Rappler on tax evasion charges

Southeast Asian governments’ unrelenting efforts to stifle media scrutiny have set off alarm bells among concerned sectors not only in the region but across the globe. That the Philippines’s otherwise independent press is now under severe threat while its counterparts in the more repressive parts of Southeast Asia are suffering under the weight of varying degrees of suppression and retaliation by the states shows that press freedom in the region has fallen to great depths.

SEAPA calls on the Philippine government to desist from attacking the media for doing its job and undermining press freedom, a hallmark of any democracy.

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[Regional] SEAPA @ 20: Looking back, moving forward amid challenging times for press freedom

For a region at the crux of political changes and transitions, that question proved pivotal. It became the trigger for a collective action – the formation of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) based on a vision forged just months after the APEC meeting, at a regional gathering of Southeast Asian journalists held on 8 November 1998. Two decades later, amid the steady decline of press freedom across the region, SEAPA’s aspiration remains as relevant as ever: A region enjoying free expression and that has a truly independent press. Its mission remains as timely as when it sprang into existence: To promote and protect press freedom in Southeast Asia.

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[Regional] SEAPA turns 20

As it turns two decades old today, SEAPA remains steadfast amid the ebb and flow of democracy and freedom in the region.

While Southeast Asia’s socio-political and media landscapes have changed, a number of issues confronting the region tend to echo those of the past. Not least of these are the shrinking civic space, poor governance, and the rise of authoritarian populism. The relentless onslaught against the media, now confronted with the disruptive and polarizing impact of new technologies and the declining credibility and public trust — harks back to an era when oppressive states thought nothing of muzzling the proverbial fourth estate.

As SEAPA looks back on its beginnings, it also renews it collective commitment to defend and uphold media freedom, free speech, and the people’s right to know. Together, SEAPA, along with its members, network, and partners, rises to this formidable challenge.

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[Cambodia] JOINT STATEMENT: CSOs call on authorities to step up the fight against endemic impunity in the country

Since 1994, at least 13 journalists have been murdered: Thou Char Mongkol, Nun Chan, Chan Dara, Thun Bun Ly, Chet Duong Daravuth, Pich Em, Dok Sokhan, Ou Saroeun, Chour Chetharith, Khim Sambo, Hang Serei Oudom, Suon Chan and Taing Try. In all these cases, the victims were killed because of their work. In 11 out of these 13 cases, no one was convicted for the murders; in seven, no suspect was arrested or interrogated.

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[Regional] Call for Proposals: Internews’ EJN & SEAPA Environmental Story Grants

Announcing new grants by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) for Environmental Journalists from Asia and the Pacific to produce stories focused on promoting free speech and the environment in the region. Successful applications will show how information can empower at-risk communities to make better decisions and build resilience.

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[Myanmar] From street protests to online campaigns, support continues for jailed Reuters reporters

After the court meted out its decision on 3 September 2018 decision, with the two still behind bars while awaiting the court’s decision, defense lawyer U Khin Maung Zaw said: “Today’s verdict is very disappointing. It’s bad for our country. It’s bad for democracy. It’s bad for the rule of law. And it’s bad for freedom of expression.” Protests have escalated since the two Reuters reporters were found guilty of breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act by the Yangon Northern District court.

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