World Press Freedom Day

Political freedom and civil liberties are in a downward spiral globally. Democracy is not only in retreat, but is under assault in Southeast Asia. State-sponsored threats and attacks, internet being weaponized with toxic discourse and false narratives, hate speech and identity politics have favored patrons, caused deep divisions, and targeted vulnerable sectors.

Read more

[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?”

Read more

[Regional] SEAPA Bulletin: World Press Freedom Day 2019

May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), a celebration of media freedom as a basic human right. It is a call for the promotion and protection of free expression around the world and a salute to journalists and media workers who are at risk for upholding the people’s democratic right to information.

Read more

WPFD2019: On World Press Freedom Day, we call for protection of journalists and a free press in Southeast Asia and across the world

Freedom of information and freedom of expression are fundamental rights, and journalists must be permitted to exercise them in order to do their work, including by exposing corruption, criticizing public policy, and illuminating human rights violations, without fear of negative repercussions. A journalist’s work should be secure, safe and supported. On World Press Freedom Day, we call for protection and support of our independent media, from publishers, from the government, and from the public.

Read more

[Regional] The Slide Backwards Across Southeast Asia

Political freedom and civil liberties are in a downward spiral globally. Democracy is not only in retreat, but is under assault in Southeast Asia.State-sponsored threats and attacks, internet being weaponized with toxic discourse and false narratives, hate speech and identity politics have favored patrons, caused deep divisions, and targeted vulnerable sectors.

Read more
Vietnamese blogger and activist Pham Doan Trang

[Vietnam] The Net as the New ‘Battlefield’

The unique Communist one-party system, combined with a socialist-style free market economy, has created a narrow window of opportunity for non-state and independent media to grow over the years, despite state censorship. For the most part, the Internet in Vietnam is still accessible to the majority of the population. With the use of a virtual private network (VPN) and other methods to jump over the firewall, people have been able to access almost all of the contents of websites the government had blocked. Vietnam has yet to build a Great Firewall like that of China.

Read more

[Timor-Leste] Still Feeling Pressed

Timor-Leste’s ranking in the latest press-freedom index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) leaped by 11 places from the previous year, but those on the ground do not feel any improvement in the country’s media conditions.

Read more

[Thailand] Some Good News, But Mostly Bad

With still no new government as of early May 2019, free speech in Thailand continues to be restricted by special laws imposed by the military junta, officially known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which seized power from an elected civilian government in May 2014.

Read more
Voice TV chief executive officer Makin Petplai welcomes the court decision for Voice TV to continue broadcast

[Thailand] Broadcaster wins a round

Voice TV is arguably one of the junta’s fiercest critics. Various programs and program hosts of the terrestrial digital station had been previously forced off air on many occasions as well following the 2014 coup in Thailand by the junta, which is more formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Read more
Activist Jolovan Wham

[Singapore] Cyberspace Headed for More Control

Singapore’s media industry has long been tightly controlled by the government. This is unlikely to change in 2019; in fact, new legislation is expected that could further curb press freedom and freedom of expression.

Read more

[Singapore] PAP’s Potentially Potent Cyberweapon

Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (POFMA) is thus likely to be yet another weapon in the PAP government’s arsenal against its critics. It also promises to be a very effective one; while it might be impractical to monitor all online chatter and issue correction or takedown orders in each and every instance, the legislation is worded broadly enough to give government ministers the option of wielding it selectively against particular targets. The Bill also gives ministers the power to exempt anyone they want from the law, and that has triggered fears that the government itself might not be able to be held to account.

Read more

[Philippines] Yet Another Year of Living Dangerously

Although press freedom is constitutionally protected in the Philippines, journalists are nevertheless still among the victims of targeted killings. The number of attacks and threats against media workers and news organizations is in fact even rising — and the efforts to silence and intimidate are also being directed against those voices protective of the press.

Read more

[Myanmar] Press Freedom in More Peril Than Ever

“Media freedom is clearly not one of (its) priorities,” said the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which monitors freedom of information and press freedom across the globe. This is even though Daw Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), the current ruling party, had press freedom among its targets for reform in its election manifesto.

Read more

[Myanmar] Broken Promises Put the Press in Peril

It has just a little more than a year before its five-year term ends, but Myanmar’s ruling National League of Democracy (NLD) still has a lot of promises left unfulfilled. Among these are reforming the country’s media and ensuring freedom of the press and freedom of expression — but no one now believes NLD will ever make good on those.

Read more

[Malaysia] Still Waiting for Reforms

There is, however, concern that the reform agenda has been stalled. Malaysia’s freedom of expression regime is in limbo, caught between the PH coalition’s promises made prior to the elections and the reality of a government attempting to consolidate its grip on power. Reform is also being met with resistance not only from bureaucrats, but also from politicians at the centre of power. As a result, the coalition government has underdelivered on expectations, and has even been showing a disconcerting lack of commitment to the human-rights principles it had pledged to uphold in its election manifesto.

Read more

[Malaysia] No Class Act

In April 2018, during its last Parliamentary sitting as Government, the Barisan Nasional rushed through a law designed, according to its supporters, to curb the spread of “fake news:” the Anti-Fake News Act. As initially presented to Parliament, the bill encompassed anyone, Malaysian or non-Malaysian, who discussed Malaysia at home or abroad. Those found guilty under the bill faced a fine of up to half a million ringgit (USD 121,000) and up to 10 years in prison. The penalties were eventually watered down, but they still remained severe, with up to six years in prison, and fines that could accumulate over time.

Read more

[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.

Read more

[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.

Read more

[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.

Read more
x Logo: Shield
This Site Is Protected By
Shield