Freest press in Southeast Asia?

October 23, 2007

rsf.jpegRSF’s 2007 press freedom index (rankings for Southeast Asia):

Cambodia tops the list (ranked 85 in the world), followed by Timor-Leste (94), Indonesia (100), Malaysia (124), Philippines (128), Thailand (135), Singapore (141), Laos (161), Vietnam (162), Burma (164). Find out why.

Brunei is not ranked due to lack of data.


‘International community must act on Burma’, Article 19

September 26, 2007

Thousands of Burmese have taken to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to protest the military regime. What started as a protest against fuel hike on August 15 has now turned into a massive people’s demonstration which includes the highly revered Buddhist monks.

Today, the junta fired tear gas to disperse protesters, who have defied threats by the military. So far, 80 demonstrators, including monks had been arrested. Press freedom remains one of the biggest casualties with communications cut-off, journalists threatened, and their cameras/memory cards confiscated by the police.

More violence is expected in the days to come despite calls by the International community to the military junta to handle the situation diplomatically.

In the midst of this crisis, Article 19, a human rights organisation with special focus on defence and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of information worldwide has called on the International community to join in full solidarity with the people of Burma and support their peaceful struggle for freedom of expression and democracy:

Dr Agnes Callamard, Article 19 executive director said in the statement “Even despite the relentless freedom of expression restrictions imposed on them, the Burmese people have joined together in an ardent and determined expression of their dissatisfaction towards the regime. We must now use our own freedom of expression to do the same.”

Read the rest of the statement here.

Please support the call by Article 19, by distributing this statement to all relevant persons, organisations and officials. You can start by sending to your respective embassies, especially those of ASEAN countries, to pressure them to immediately and diplomatically engage with Burma on this growing crisis.

Nine protesters released in Burma, warned of life imprisonment penalty in future

March 5, 2007

alerts-button.jpgThe military junta has released nine demonstrators arrested for participating in a 22 February 2007 protest against the regime for failing to address soaring inflation and other issues of the day, the New Delhi-based online daily reported on 27 February. Read the rest of this entry »

Burmese police briefly detain three journalists covering protest; two demonstrators still held

February 23, 2007

alerts-button.jpgBurmese police briefly detained three local journalists who were covering a protest in the former capital city Rangoon at about 3:00 p.m. (local time) on 22 February 2007, reports Mizzima News, a SEAPA partner based in New Delhi.

About 20 demonstrators were protesting outside the Rangoon City Hall over the high inflation rate, sky-rocketing commodities prices, increasing unemployment and corruption when police arrested journalists Myat Thura from Kyodo news agency, Daw Sint Sint Aung from Nippon TV and May Thagyan Hein from “Myanmar Dhana” economic magazine.

Two protesters, Htin Kyaw and Myint Shwe, were also detained, according to Mizzima News.

The journalists were released at 9:30 p.m. from Aung Tha Pyay Special Branch police guest house.

Freedoms of assembly, speech and the press are limited by law and in practice in Burma, which has been ruled by the military since 1962. Demonstrations are illegal and participants would be severely dealt with, especially when they are protesting against the junta. The junta has arrested, detained, convicted and imprisoned citizens for criticising it or for expressing differing views. Security personnel also monitor and harass those suspected to harbour opposition views.

Democracy activist in Burma sues 123 editors, publishers for defamation

January 29, 2007

alerts-button.jpgA democracy activist in Rangoon has filed a defamation suit against 123 editors, editors-in-chief and publishers from 30 weekly newspapers in military-ruled Burma for publishing a report that cast aspersions on her, reports Mizzima News on 29 January 2007.

Naw Ohn Hla, 45, a former political prisoner and supporter of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said the report, written by a journalist called Yan Yan, linked to her a widely known, but now deceased, pimp who lived in her area.

“It greatly affected women’s dignity,” Naw told Mizzima News, an online daily and SEAPA partner based in New Delhi. Read the rest of this entry »

In Burma, more sites blocked ahead of UN Security Council’s first resolution

January 12, 2007

alerts-button.jpgInternet users in Burma are alleging that the secretive military junta has banned more sites since 8 January 2007, creating difficulties in accessing free email and chat services, reports, a New Delhi-based news site run by exiled journalists. Read the rest of this entry »

Burmese military junta releases two journalists

January 8, 2007

alerts-button.jpgThe Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) welcomes the early release of journalists Thaung Tun and Than Win Hlaing on 3 January 2007 after six years of imprisonment by the Burmese military junta. The two were among 2,831 detainees “pardoned” in conjunction with the nation’s 59th year of independence on 4 January. Read the rest of this entry »