[Thailand] An earnest plea for media freedom ahead of the national vote

Amid continuing restrictions to the media in Thailand, there is one question that political parties contesting the anticipated general election, initially scheduled for February 24, must confront – what do they plan to do about the ongoing restrictions on the media imposed by the ruling military junta, or the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)?

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[Indonesia] AJI 2018 Year-End Note: Persecution and Violence Threaten Journalists

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) noted many improvements in the media and journalism practices in 2018. However, the overall condition—especially concerning press freedom and professionalism—was not satisfying.

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[Philippines] Pakistani media group appeals to President Duterte over killing of radio broadcaster

The Pakistan Press Foundation, an independent media organization that seeks to promote and defend freedom of expression, expressed “deep concern” on the killing of Philippine radio announcer Gabriel Alburo in a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte, dated 31 December 2018.

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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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[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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‘Dividing the line between proper scrutiny and interference’

The director of the BBC World Service Group shared her worries that too many authoritarian governments remain unwilling to change their view of media freedom, and want to bend media to their will. Speaking on the case regarding the arrest of a Thai activist for sharing a BBC news article, the media organization reiterated that they stand by their editorial values and also believe in the people’s right to free expression.

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ผอ.บีบีซีเวิลด์ย้ำ สังคมต้องแยกเส้นแบ่งระหว่าง “การตรวจสอบสื่อ” กับ “การแทรกแซงสื่อ”

ผอ.บีบีซี ภาคบริการโลก กังวล วัฒนธรรมประชาธิปไตยและเสรีภาพสื่ออาจกำลังหยั่งรากลงสู่พื้นที่เป็นหิน ลำพังกฎกติกาปกป้องสิทธิไม่ได้ถ้าวัฒนธรรมนั้นๆ ไม่เห็นบทบาทสื่อ พร้อมย้ำกรณี ‘ไผ่ ดาวดิน’ บีบีซีเสนอข่าวตามกรอบการบรรณาธิการ และประชาชนมี “สิทธิที่จะแชร์”

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