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Press freedom, free expression decline in Southeast Asia in 2007

THE state of press freedom and free expression declined across Southeast Asia in 2007, according to a yearend report of the Bangkok-based regional media watchdog, Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).

A coalition of press freedom advocacy groups from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, SEAPA aims to unite independent journalists and press-related organizations in the region into a force for the protection and promotion of press freedom and free expression in Southeast Asia. SEAPA is composed of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (Indonesia), the Jakarta-based Institute for the Study of the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), the Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and the Thai Journalists Association.

Below is the SEAPA media statement:

Press freedom and free expression decline throughout Southeast Asia in 2007

FROM the freest to the most restricted among them, the countries of Southeast Asia in 2007 suffered a weakening of press freedom.

The situation in Burma — already the worst in terms of environments for free expression and human rights — further deteriorated right before the whole world’s eyes. A notorious regime predictable for its censorship and tight controls now plunges into even more uncertain harshness.

Read the full country reports on Southeast Asia here.

Meanwhile, Singapore widened the scope of its uncompromising media laws to include the new media even as citizens are beginning to test the erstwhile freedom found on the Internet. A similar development transpired in Malaysia, which is showing signs of backing down from a long-standing promise to never censor the Internet and looking for ways to take on bloggers in court, while political protests in the last quarter of the year have put the government on edge.

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December 30, 2007 Posted by | Free Expression in Asia | , , , | Leave a comment