SEAPA’s Campaigns and Advocacy Program works to improve the regional media freedom situation by highlighting the key issues and regulations that affect media freedom in each country. Campaigns draw attention to issues and concern affecting the media that need attention and action by concerned parties (state, non-state actors and the civil society). On the other hand, advocacy works for substantive changes in policy for long term impact towards a free media in each country.
- Journalist Safety – SEAPA works to promote the safety of journalists, and to combat impunity against violence. Impunity is a chronic failure by states, judiciary and law enforcement agencies in order make perpetrators of violence account for their acts and bring justice to the victims.
- Media Law – SEAPA is working work greater freedom of the media legal environment through campaigns that draw attention to restrictive laws and by advocating for reform towards protecting journalists and reducing interference on the media.
Other regional issues
- Access to information – The unfettered access to public information is an important component of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, as exercised by both the media and citizens in general. However, there are still only two countries Thailand and Indonesia with national laws that guarantee freedom of information. Besides, several countries in the region still layers of laws and regulations that give authorities excuse to wihhold public information.
- ASEAN and the right to freedom of expression – The increasing role relevance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a regional inter-governmental organization has also seen the emergence of regional human rights mechanisms that can serve as an additional platform for engaging governments on the issue of press freedom and freedom of expression. ASEAN mechanisms have an important potential for SEAPA as a regional NGO, and thus need to be engaged in order to affect change at the local level.
- Internet freedom – The shift to and increasing adoption by the regional news media of the online platforms has meant the need to defend the internet as a free and accessible channel of information and as an important platform for both public and individual expression. In many countries in the region, online media has also served as a vibrant alternative to the tightly controlled print and broadcast traditional media.
- SEAPA also engages freedom of expression issues that are not related to the media or free press. In many countries, the struggle for the protection of the right to freedom of expression of citizens and civil society such as may be the critical arena that has to change, before freedomextends to the institutional media.
Important commemorative dates for the media
- World Press Freedom Day every 3 May is marked to draw attention to the importance of a free press in realizing the human right to freedom of opinion and expression. SEAPA has marked this day by issuing an annual report of the state of press freedom in every country in the region and as a whole.
- International Day to End Impunity every 23 November, which marks the anniversary of the massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines in 2009 in which 58 persons were killed including 32 media workers. SEAPA joins the international free expression community to observe this day by drawing attention to continued violence against the media in the conduct of their work, either by state or non-state actors, and to end the culture of impunity pervading the region.
- Right to Know Day every 28 September highlights the importance of access to information as a key element of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.