[Regional] Journalist safety declines as authoritarian regimes tighten grip on media —RSF

As authoritarian regimes continue their crackdown on the media, there are fewer countries where journalists can safely practice their profession. This stark reality is one of the findings that emerges from the newly released 2019 World Press Freedom Index of the Paris-based media group Reporters Without Borders (RSF). RSF said the Asia-Pacific region “continues to exhibit all of the problems that can beset journalism” which ranks third from last among the six main regions around the world.

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[Thailand] Television host, activist face defamation charges over election coverage and comments

Voice TV host Sirote Klampaiboon and civil rights activist Nuttaa Mahattana received summons for defamation charges by the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) on 5 April 2019, according to a report by Prachatai English.

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Rappler CEO Maria Ressa | CMFR File Photo

[Philippines] Ressa’s latest arrest yet another sign of government’s unflagging harassment of media —SEAPA

Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa was arrested Friday morning, 29 March 2019, by Philippine authorities soon after deplaning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal over a charge of violation of the anti-dummy law. Ressa, along with other Rappler board members, is also facing other charges under the Securities Regulation Code.

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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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Facebook photo: Bird Sanctuary sues Siem Reap journalist over allegedly false information

[Cambodia] Siem Reap tourism association sues journalist over ‘false information’

A Siem Reap tourism association has filed a court complaint against the publisher of a one-man digital news outlet, claiming it was spreading false information about the Boeng Pearaing bird sanctuary.

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Swe Win. Source: Karen News

[Myanmar] Drop defamation charges against journalist Ko Swe Win and repeal Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law

Myanmar authorities must drop the case against Ko Swe Win and take concrete steps to repeal Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law, 77 organisations said in a joint statement today.

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[Myanmar] Violence against Kachin-based journalists deplorable; police must punish the perpetrators —SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) echoes the calls of Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN) and Myanmar Press Council to investigate a mining company based in Waingmaw, Kachin that allegedly detained and assaulted local journalists over the latter’s reports on the environmental and social impact of the firm’s banana plantation operations. 

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Statement of the Myanmar Press Council on the incident

[Myanmar] Journalist community condemns attack against Myitkyina Journal reporters, calls to hold perpetrators accountable

On 26 February, two journalists from Myitkyina Journal – based on Myitkyina Kachin State – were forcibly taken by the personnel of the Tha Khin Sit company at its premises. Then, a female journalist was slapped and her male colleague was forced to do sit-ups several times; they also threatened both journalists not to write anything about the mining company. 

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[Philippines] Government’s unrelenting demonization, red-tagging escalates threats to media, press freedom

We call on all concerned public officials, notably President Rodrigo Duterte, to cease and desist from putting the press – or those that they see fit to malign every chance they get – in harm’s way and uphold their right to report freely and independently without fearing for their safety.

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[Philippines] Presidential Communications Undersecretary Egco and “Irresponsible Journalism”

All reports issued by the three groups go through the verification process that is at the heart of all true journalism, and in addition are subjected to the gate-keeping processes of the publications it serves.

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[Myanmar] Media community condemns verdict against Tanintharyi Journal over a satirical article

On 18 February 2019, a district court from Dawei Township, Tanintharyi division announced its verdict on Thanitharyi Journal. The court decision states that the local paper has violated Article 25 (b) of the 2014 Media Law by publishing a satirical story, therefore, was sentenced to six-month imprisonment or fined 500,000 kyats (about USD 450). We, the media community in Myanmar, condemn this verdict as it restricts media freedom and the rights of media outlets. 

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Photo from vodhotnews.com

[Cambodia] Three reporters detained for alleged extortion; deny accusation

Three Cambodian reporters were detained overnight on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 by police in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district for allegedly interrupting the business operations and extorting money from the owner of a mining pit and trucks in the area. 

They denied the charges and were released the following day. According to the police, the two parties reached a settlement, resulting in the dismissal of the complaint. It was not known if a sum was paid as part of the settlement.

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