Freedom of Speech in Southeast Asia


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Ed Legaspi, from Southeast Asian Press Alliances, gave a talk about freedom of speech/expression on November 4th, at BlogFestAsia 2012:

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Freedom of Speech in Southeast Asia

  1. 1. Freedom of Expression, Information and the Press in Southeast Asia Presentation by Ed Legaspi Alerts and Communication Officer Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
  2. 2. SEAPA• Members in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand; partners in Cambodia, Burma, and Timor Leste• Programs: Campaigns (Press freedom, FOE in the Internet and in ASEAN), Fellowship and Trainings• Through: Advocacy, Networking, Training and Knowledge building
  3. 3. Freedom of Opinion and Expression Of all human beings• Human right to freedom? Negative right• Internationally and nationally protected• Not absolute (derogable) Look it up: Constitution, laws UDHR, ICCPR, AHRD
  4. 4. Understanding FOE to disagree Freedom to hold opinions press freedomSelf-expression Right to seek, receive and impart Right to pluralism information All kinds of information and ideas From public authorit Print Broadcast Without interference * No censorship Online Art Through any media Film Beyond borders Sound Regardless of frontiers
  5. 5. Which countries ratified ICCPR?• Cambodia (‘92) • Bangladesh (‘00)• Indonesia (‘06) • India (‘79)• Laos (’09) • Maldives (‘06)• Philippines (‘78) • Nepal (‘91)• Thailand (‘91) • Pakistan (‘10)• Timor Leste (‘03) • Sri Lanka (‘80)• Vietnam (‘84) • Korea, DPR (‘81) Legal obligations to • Korea, Republic of (‘76) A) Implement • Japan (’79) B) Report • Mongolia (’76)
  6. 6. Legal FOE issues• ICCPR in only 7 out of 11 countries• FOI laws only in Indonesia and Thailand (plus Selangor and Penang in Malaysia)• Press control laws: Brunei, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore• Security laws: sedition, subversion, national security• Criminal laws: defamation, lese majeste, anti- state propaganda• The rise of cybercrime laws
  7. 7. FOE issues in practice• Violence and impunity against the media by state and non-state actors• State interference in the media – Surveillance, censorship• Self-censorship• Disregard of good laws (press and FOI)• Criminalization of expression = suppressing freedom of opinion
  8. 8. Some good news Attention; potential• Burma’s transition Sustainable? National, regional• Civil society power How effective?• Common ASEAN human rights standard• Changing media landscape Implementable? •New space •New actors •New power •New battle ground
  9. 9. Directions• Mainstream media transition to cyberspace• Role of bloggers in restrictive countries• Changing communication models• Internet governance• Addressing the question of ethics• Changing priorities: from press freedom to freedom of expression
  10. 10. Implications to SEAPA• Evaluating and campaigning on bad cybercrime laws• Examining the situation of blogging and social media in greater detail• Cooperating with blogger communities• … and your suggestions?
  11. 11. អ អ អ អ អ Cám ơn Terima kasih ObrigadoMaraming salamat Thank you la