[Thailand] Nation troops to polls as media remain hobbled by repressive laws

In the days leading to Thailand’s first general election after five years of junta’s rule, Thai media have been under pressure from the public to help ensure a free and fair election while having to contend with by newly enforced laws and regulations.

Fearful of breaching the new laws enforced by the military regime, the Thai media have become less intrepid in their reporting, while the electorate is left with inadequate information that they need to make an informed choice.

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Representatives of seven major parties in the Thai general elections participate at the Thai PBS Debate on 15 March 2019.

[Thailand] From Hope to Ballot: The Advance Vote

In a remarkable expression of their faith in democracy, eighty-seven percent of Thai voters registered for advance voting turned out to vote. Advance Voting Day remained peaceful and orderly but punctuated by instances of mismanagement, inconsistencies in the application of electoral rules by polling staff, and complaints of inadequate voter education and information in particular to voters and political parties. While the Advance Voting Day establishes the preparedness of the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT), it has provided the Commission an opportunity to immediately take measures to rectify the management issues reported by election stakeholders.

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A story from Jurnalis Perempuan Meliput Indonesia: 50 Kisah di Balik Berita (Women Journalists Cover Indonesia: 50 Stories Behind the News)

[Indonesia] The Power of Compassion in Disaster Reporting

Alongside children, women are especially vulnerable to disasters. This does not mean they are weak. Women are in fact strong given their varied roles, especially in times of calamity.

As a journalist, I make it a priority to focus on these two sectors when covering disasters to shine a light on their plight while showing their fortitude.

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Residents of Cavalima whose land will be used for the Tasi Mane petroleum infrastructure project in Camanasa, Timor-Leste, Jan. 10, 2019 /Credit: Bernardo Da Costa Maia

[Timor-Leste] Voices: Tasi Mane Petroleum Project Brings Concern, Optimism to Southern Coast

In a January 2019 reporting trip, Radio Rakambia discovered that the government has compensated some people while others have not been paid. It hasn’t been indicated where the farmers can move to. The people of Suai have appealed to the government to establish good conditions for resettlement so that they can raise their animals and plant their plants.

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[Regional] Southeast Asia’s draconian cyber laws: In the name of ‘national security’, so say states

Laws regulating how people use the internet must never serve as tools to control and silence critical and independent voices. Yet this is the stark reality in much of Southeast Asia today.

In a region where authoritarianism is on the rise, these laws have conveniently become the state’s weapon to restrict freedoms of expression and information, and penalize dissent.

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[Philippines] Digital Reality Bites: Alternative Media in the Crosshairs of Cyber Attacks

Fiercely independent Bulatlat, Kodao Productions, Pinoy Weekly, AlterMidya, and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have found themselves in this conundrum, with little, if any, prospect of an end to their digital woes.

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[Philippines] 360: The changing mountain calendar in Sagada

This 360-degree takes you to this picturesque community whose harvest is now in peril, allowing you to immerse in its plight and culture. As it plays, watch the scenes come alive on your device. Swipe back and forth, move up and down, or rotate the video’s perspective to watch it from all angles. You can also get a virtual reality (VR) viewer or headset, look inside, and feel like you are actually in the scene.

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[Regional] On International Women’s Day, a Sobering Reality for Female Journalists

Threats, intimidation, harassment, and attacks comprise the often hostile (and at times deadly) menagerie of challenges that many journalists face every day. Yet in a world order where discrimination against women is de facto and where fundamental freedoms are more honored in the breach than in the observance, these challenges are all in a day’s work and can be more pervasive and daunting for women journalists.

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[Malaysia] CIJ, MCCHR launch site for media council national consultation

The Centre for Independent Journalism in Malaysia (CIJ) and the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) launched today, 22 February 2019 a website (http://msiamediacouncil.website/) to “begin discussions again on establishing a National Media Council of Malaysia.”

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Ban Mai is one of the most affected villages by Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy dam collapsed in July. The Lao government estimates losses at more than US$15 million alone in this village / Credit: Visarut Sankham

[Laos] Compensation talks begin for dam disaster victims

More than 7,000 survivors of the disastrous collapse of the hydropower dam in southern Laos’ Sanamxay district have been struggling to survive for nearly seven months.

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Photo by Pratch Rujivanarom

[Laos] Survivors of dam collapse battle dengue, malnutrition

Six months after the collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in southern Laos triggered floods that swept them from their homes, survivors are now suffering from dengue fever and malnutrition.

Those health challenges come despite firm agreements between local and international health agencies to work together to prevent disease and otherwise attend to the needs of the displaced.

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Hin Lath school, where Chang attended, was destroyed by the dam collapse. He now has to travel at least three hours return to attend school in the city / Credit: Visarut Sankham

[Laos] The deadly wave that changed everything

Flash floods following the collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam in southern Laos washed away the homes, families, hope and dreams of dozens of villagers living downstream. This is one of their stories.

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A field of newly transplanted Virginia tobacco in Barangay Anei, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. The production of these plants plummeted to only a million kilograms in 2018 as only 336 farmers planted the crop in 436.21 hectares, down from 2.5 million in 2017 with 1,117 farmers who grew the variety in 1,387 hectares. Photo by LSReyes

[Philippines] Images of women absent from posters on safe tobacco growing

Researchers in a Brazil-based study in a tobacco-growing community pointed out that women are primary study subjects on the health and environmental impacts of tobacco production because of  “their role in tobacco production, combined with their essential role in caring for the family, especially related to health.’’

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