Bangkok – The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), a Bangkok-based regional media freedom advocacy group, today launches its annual commemoration of the international day to end impunity on 23 November.
The 23 November commemoration—the second by SEAPA—is part of its ongoing campaign, “Stop Impunity in Southeast Asia”, which aims to draw public attention to, and to call for justice for those who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression.
[Listen to a podcast of an interview by BFM radio (89.9) in Kuala Lumpur, of SEAPA’s campaign officer, Kulachada Chaipipat, about the campaign.]
By dictionary definition, “impunity” means “without punishment”, or “without consequences”. And in the context of this campaign, it is about the non-accountability of actions, either by state and non-state actors, to violate the right to freedom of expression.
The activities aim to remind the media and the public that each year a large number of people–villagers, journalists, bloggers, cartoonists, songwriters, lawyers and human rights defenders–are being stifled from expressing their opinions through the use of unjustified legal actions or violence. And most of the perpetrators face no consequences, and nor they are brought to justice.
Freedom of expression advocacy groups around the world chose the date, 23 November, as the global day to end impunity because it is the anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre, in which 58 persons including 32 journalists and media workers were murdered in Maguindanao, southern Philippines. It is the world’s deadliest single attack against journalists and evidences a culture of impunity against freedom of expression that pervades throughout the world, and in Southeast Asia in particular.
This year’s activities include releases of media materials, including:
- an overview report of trends impunity-related incidents in 2012;
- detailed reports on key cases of violence and state initiated impunity against freedom of expression from Indonesia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam.
- launch of a video, titled “Stop impunity in Southeast Asia”.
- direct action to bring cases to remind authorities around the region about these cases, and take concrete steps to end impunity.
Those wishing to follow these activities may do so through SEAPA’s Facebook page and account (Seapa Secretariat), Twitter account (@seapabkk) and the following Twitter hashtags: #IDEI, #endimpunity and #23Nov.
Bahasa Indonesia and Malaysia, Burmese, Filipino and Thai resource speakers are also available for interviews.
Please call SEAPA for more information at +66 (0) 2 243 5579 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Gayathry Venkiteswaran, executive director at email@example.com
- Kulachada Chaipipat, campaign officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ed Legaspi, communication officer at email@example.com