Report shows press freedom under attack [Southeast Asia]

byDana Liebelson
Feb 8, 2011 in Miscellaneous

A new report on press freedom in Southeast Asia reveals that 2011 will be a challenging year for independent media in the region.

The annual report, published by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, focuses on the press freedom situations in 10 countries: Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

It aims to present the cases and trends for the past year, and identify the expectations for 2011. Southeast Asian journalists faced a challenging media climate in 2010, and the future promises more attacks on freedom of the press.

The report said there has been little political will to address impunity among governments in the region, and that media reforms have been neglected. There has also been concern that controls over the media are being strengthened in anticipation of several upcoming national elections. Several countries are facing legislation that promises to stifle press freedom in 2011.

Threats and violence against the media have also increased, even among the more established democracies, according to the report.

In the Philippines, for example, there was initially hope that Benigno Aquino III’s administration would live up to its promise to respect press freedom. In reality, his administration remains willfully uninformed on the role of the press and there were 20 extrajudicial killings of journalists in Aquino’s first six months. Indonesia has also seen a rise in violence against journalists, with 47 cases reported last year.

To view the complete report, "Caught in the Crossfire," click here.

Photo Credit: ICFJ