[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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[Myanmar] 20 expert organizations urge the gov’t to fully guarantee the internationally protected right to freedom of expression in the Constitution

A new parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing Myanmar’s constitution is an opportunity for the government to guarantee the democratic rights to free expression, media freedom, and access to information.

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[Regional] Democracy Consolidation in Asia: ‘Renewing Commitment to Uphold and Promote Democracy Together’

Approximately 60 key democracy advocates from across Asia convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from April 2-3, 2019, at the “Democracy Consolidation in Asia Conference” hosted by the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) and Bersih 2.0 to affirm its commitment to uphold and promote democracy amidst current democracy challenges buffeting the region. 

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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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[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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[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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[Philippines] Gov’t, media can’t play fast, loose with due process and rule of law

Several journalists and media organizations express grave concern about the likely breach of professional ethics and adverse legal implications of the publication and broadcast of the Duterte Administration’s list of public officials allegedly involved in the illegal-drugs trade.

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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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[Malaysia] National consultation for a media council concludes in Kuala Lumpur

Organized jointly by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR), the national consultation on the formation of a national media council tackled the whys and wherefores of setting up a media council in Malaysia, including relevant media issues, and aimed to carve out a road map for its establishment.

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