[Regional] Stand in Solidarity with the Media Community

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Stakeholders — youth, women, indigenous peoples, LGBTQI+, lawyers, and governments — share their thoughts on “Why is the media important? Why should the media be free?”

 

 

“Media have very important roles, they help people to access information by the way they are the voice of the voiceless in many situations. Free media means freedom of people. In the passed years a lot of journalists were killed and disappeared and impunity always remain. Now the perpetrators often use Judicial Harassment to silence and stop their work. For me the role of media and journalists are as human rights defenders and we have to support and protect them.”

Angkhana Neelapaijit
National Human Rights Commission of Thailand

 

“Kebebasan Pers adalah sangat penting dimana pers sebagai penyambung suara dari suara-suara yang lemah atau dilemahkan, Independensi Pers adalah dimana Pers berpihak kepada kebenaran, Kemerdekaan Pers tidak tunduk pada tekanan apapun termasuk dari penguasa dan pemilik media, Pers yang bebas dan merdeka dapat menjadi pembawa khabar kepada dunia akan kebenaran suatu peristiwa yang terjadi jauh didaerah terasing.”

“Press Freedom is very important where the press is the voice of the voiceless, the independence of the press is where the press sided with the truth, press freedom is not subject to any pressure including rulers and media owners, free and independent press can be a bearer of the world to the truth of an event that goes far beyond the isolated area.”

Asep Komarudin
Greenpeace Southeast Asia/Indonesia

 

“The media is indispensable in the search for truth and accountability. The media enables people to realise their fundamental human right under the UDHR to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Hence, the media must be free in order to protect that fundamental human right to freedom of opinion and expression. Ultimately, the media must be free to make our freedom real.”

Gilbert T. Andres
Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition-Southeast Asia (AFEC-SEA)

 

“Ensuring press freedom is imperative in sustaining a vibrant and democratic society. We need independent media as a medium to raise our concerns, present the realities on the ground and call for public attention and actions, and make the powers that be to account. When press freedom is under attack, our fundamental rights and freedoms to express our views and demands including access to justice is also under attack. Defending press freedom is in defense of our human rights.”

Joan Carling
Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development

 

“Rather than just a platform, media itself is knowledge. Media amplifies awareness and critiques in advocacy. It challenges normalized understandings imposed on us by power holders and shapes the narratives of a story, which drives behaviors and attitudes. Media freedom distinguishes participative citizens from gullible subjects because without it the dominant script takes liberty to monopolize the power and authorize changes.”

Ninar Thanita Wongprasert
Independent youth LGBTQI+ activist

 

The media must be free to report fairly about marginalised groups and to give a platform for communities which are invisible, hidden, and often hounded into a shadowy existence by a prejudiced society and unjust laws. A free and ethical media can play a transformative role in opening the ears, hearts, and minds of society at large to issues that are otherwise shrouded by negative stereotypes, bias, misinformation, and sensationalism. A free media gives marginalised peoples an equal opportunity to access information, to have a voice, and to participate in democracy without fear or shame.”

QUEER LAPIS

 

“We need a free, fair and feminist media that allows voices from the most marginalised, grassroots movements, to be heard, acknowledged and amplified. The threat that journalists, especially women journalists face while undertaking such reporting projects, undermine freedom of expression and information. Media is the fourth pillar of democratic systems and informed citizens. Media clampdown, intimidation and pressure creates a ripe environment for amplifying discourse on fundamentalisms, violence, and polarization of society. The corporate capture of media adds to this threat and continues to propagate an unequal system where voices of the powerful and rich are heard over those at the margins. On World Press Freedom Day, we urge these systems to be challenged, stop attacking journalist for the work they do, and recognise journalists as human rights defenders beholding the key to just and inclusive societies.”

Neha Gupta
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

 

“Media is important because it gives us some sense of being. If you live in a society (no matter where are you from), you cannot deny that everyone is somehow connected to each other through media. In this sense, the media plays a significant role in keeping everyone updated about the various events around the globe. Media also allow individuals the ability to create their own personal identity through mediums such as social media and help people deliver messages to the society especially ones that create awareness in social issues. When media is neither free nor independent, the world would have only one truth, from only one source of information. The door of possibilities will be shut and new ideas will die, in the dark, forever.”

Podcharakrit To-im
Chulalongkorn University

 

“Our collective survival depends on free, accessible, and informed media. Robust debate is essential to humanist leadership and effective progressive policy. Its absence facilitates the abuse of power, the abuse of rights, the abuse of resources, and the abuse of prejudice. The media is essential in Refugee Rights advocacy in order to validate claims of persecution and therefore provide people protection and to advance fundamental human rights by demonstrating, time and again, the necessity of doing so. This effort is of such critical importance that we, at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, often act on cases of journalists, bloggers, or others who are willing to risk their lives and the lives of their families to defend media freedom as a core necessity to freedom.”

Themba Lewis
Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network

 

“It will be very difficult for ordinary people to find truth in the society where media cannot report information they get. It will be almost impossible for people to learn and develop themselves when truth cannot be disseminated.”

Yingcheep Atchanont
iLaw

 

“To make the promotion and protection of human rights effective, impactful and meaningful, we need media freedom. I defend media freedom and those who work on journalism. Media freedom should be the DNA of the ASEAN Community. AICHR Indonesia works to uphold freedoms and rights that protect us #ProtectionMatters”

Yuyun Wahyuningrum
ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

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