[Laos] Screws on Online Discourse Get Even Tighter

The absence of independent media and shrinking civic space have effectively deprived the citizens of Laos of timely and qualitative information, including those that are critical in keeping them safe from harm. Not surprisingly, more and more Laotians have turned to social media to seek and share news and information that are censored in the mainstream media, and to voice their criticisms against government policies and inactions, as well as their concerns over political and social problems in the country.

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[Indonesia] Political Reporting Can Do With Female Touch

Through the survey, Forum Jurnalis Perempuan Indonesia (FJPI, Indonesian Women Journalists Forum) sought primarily to determine whether there is gender discrimination in the newsroom when it comes to political coverage. It also wanted to see how media companies were treating their female employees, as well as how women in management positions in such companies have been handling issues concerning women in the newsroom and elsewhere.

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[Indonesia] More of the Same Isn’t Good

Indonesian journalists are having a hard time remaining optimistic about the chances of improvement in media conditions. Data gathered by the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists) and other groups show little change from those reported in previous years — not exactly good news. After all, violence against journalists had been escalating in the last decade, and there is still no sign of it letting up.

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[Cambodia] Free Press on the Run

The media landscape in Cambodia has dramatically changed over the past two years. Today there is a shortage of independent, impartial, and rigorous news in Cambodia. Information mostly circulates either through media aligned with the government, or as unverified information on social media. This new media landscape severely curtails citizens’ right to access to independent and critical information. These developments also hinder the work of civil-society organizations, which have to devote a significant amount of resources in obtaining reliable and verifiable information.

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Radio Free Asia (RFA Khmer service) journalists Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin were released on bail on 21 August 2018.

[Cambodia] Suppression via Legislation

Journalists should be permitted to do their work, including exposing corruption, criticizing public policies, and shedding light on human rights violations, in an environment that promotes their safety, without fear of negative repercussions. But Cambodia’s dismal media climate in 2017 had only worsened in 2018 to 2019. One of the serious challenges faced by journalists in Cambodia during this period has been the tightening of legal screws on the media, which only make it all too easy for journalists to be subjected to legal actions as a result of their work.

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© Ann Wang / courtesy of Reuters

WPFD2019: UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honors Reuters journalists

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (Myanmar), who are serving a seven-year prison sentence, share this year’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The award ceremony will take place today, 2 May 2019, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, host of this year’s celebration of the World Press Freedom Day.

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WPFD2019: SEAPA to hold forum on World Press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is joining the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) celebration in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. The theme of the SEAPA forum, to be held on May 3, is “Toward Constructive Dialogue and Shared Narratives: Exploring Media’s Role in Conflict-Prone Societies.”

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[Philippines] The Plot Thickens Over Heightened Attacks Against Media

The Philippines is not unlike other countries in the region that had their national polls recently, such as Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand, where governments had kept a close watch on the media – a tacit acknowledgment of the power of what is often dubbed the Fourth Estate to keep public officials in check, not to mention ensure a well-informed and engaged citizenry whose votes and collective opinions could upend authoritarian rulers’ determined effort to keep their grip on power – at all costs.

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[Myanmar] Supreme Court ruling on Reuters reporters a grave injustice —SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Myanmar Supreme Court to uphold the seven-year imprisonment of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. This ruling effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of their quest for justice.

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[Myanmar] Supreme Court set to rule on an appeal by jailed Reuters journalists

The Myanmar Supreme Court must order the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, global civil society alliance CIVICUS and the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) said today. The two journalists, who have been jailed since 2017, are set to go before the country’s highest court on 23 April. The court will rule upon their appeal, which was submitted on grounds that lower court rulings involved errors in judicial procedure.

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[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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