CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Shawn W. Crispin

CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn W. Crispin is based in Bangkok, where he is a reporter and editor for Asia Times Online. He has led CPJ missions throughout the region, and is the author of the CPJ special report, "Vietnam’s press freedom shrinks despite open economy."

Blog   |   Burma

Burma clampdown gathers pace as legislation passed

In a clear step backwards for press freedom in Burma, new legislation will give the government censorship powers and the sole authority to issue and revoke news publication licenses. While the legislation enshrines into law broad press freedom guarantees, specific provisions will give the Ministry of Information ultimate power over what news is permissible for publication.

Blog   |   Thailand

First step to justice in Fabio Polenghi's killing

A memorial to Polenghi (Reuters)

EDITOR'S NOTE: A court in Thailand ruled today that Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was shot and killed by a bullet fired by a soldier during a government crackdown on street protesters on May 19, 2010.  The inquest ruling established the circumstances surrounding his death but failed to apportion blame to any individual military commanders or politicians in power at the time.

Elisabetta Polenghi, Fabio's sister, indicated after the trial that she will pursue criminal charges to bring those directly responsible for her brother's death to account. CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin was in attendance at today's verdict and at an evening press conference with Elisabetta Polenghi at the Foreign Correspondent's Club of Thailand. The following are excerpts of Crispin's statement at the press conference:

Blog   |   Burma, USA

Premature praise for Burma's press reforms

U.S. President Barack Obama and President Thein Sein of Burma meet in the White House. (AFP/Saul Loeb)

Burmese President Thein Sein made a historic visit to the White House on May 19, the latest in a series of high-level symbolic exchanges between the two nations. While Thein Sein has been regularly commended by U.S. officials for his broad democratic reform program, President Barack Obama's praise this week overlooked a significant backtracking on promised media-related reforms.

Blog   |   Thailand

Small attack on Thai newspaper has large implications

A Red Shirt protester holds a portrait of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at a rally in Bangkok on May 8. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

To head off rising tensions between supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and cartoonist Somchai Katanyutanan, who faces possible criminal defamation charges for critical comments he posted on his personal Facebook page, Thailand's government has to make sure police fully investigate this weekend's attack on Thai Rath, the country's largest circulation daily newspaper. The government's public sensitivity to expression such as Somchai's has spurred recent political violence in Thailand, including threats against journalists. 

Blog   |   Burma, Internet

As censorship wanes, cyberattacks rise in Burma

Kachin Independence Army soldiers guard an outpost in Northern Burma's Kachin-controlled region on January 31. Journalists who cover the conflict have been subject to email hacking attacks. (AP/Alexander F. Yuan)

Cyberattacks on news websites and apparent government hacking into journalists' email accounts have raised new questions about the integrity of media reforms in Burma. The New York Times reported on Sunday that several journalists who regularly cover Burma-related news recently received warning messages from Google that their email accounts may have been hacked by "state-sponsored attackers."

Blog   |   Vietnam

Vietnamese blogger reports sexual assault by officials

Vietnam's crackdown on independent bloggers hit a new low in recent days with reports of sexual violence perpetrated by state officials against a prominent online reporter.  

Blog   |   Vietnam

Attack shows all reporters at risk in Vietnam

Farmers protest the seizure of their land for industrial projects in Hun Yen province. Two journalists were assaulted by police recently for covering the forced eviction of villagers. (Reuters)

Recent physical assault on two state media reporters in Vietnam underscores the risks of reporting on increasingly sensitive land issues in the communist-ruled country. The attack on the reporters signals a potential extension of the media crackdown that until now has targeted mainly unsanctioned journalists and bloggers.

May 9, 2012 10:57 AM ET

Blog   |   Philippines

On Philippines' canvas of injustice, anything goes

A poster of names lists journalists slain in the Philippines since 1986. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco)

Romeo Olea's unsolved murder is tragically typical of media killings in the Philippines. Before his death, the radio commentator had received anonymous threats over his reports on local government corruption.

Blog   |   Burma

In Burma, press freedom remains an illusion

Supporters of Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party travel to a rally at a Yangon constituency on Friday. (AFP/Soe Than Win)

Just ahead of this weekend's highly anticipated Burma by-elections, opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi today denounced the vote as not "free and fair." Indeed, Thein Sein government's harassment of opposition media in the run-up to the polls raises disturbing questions about the country's reputed new democratic direction after decades of repressive military rule. 

March 30, 2012 11:16 AM ET

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Blog   |   Burma

Freedom with limits in Burma

Win Maw, a journalist for Democratic Voice of Burma, is greeted by his wife as he arrives at Yangon airport after being released from prison Friday, Jan. 13. (AP/Khin Maung Win)

When President Thein Sein pardoned over 300 political prisoners last week in Burma, CPJ reported that at least nine journalists were among those released. Since then, the exile-run Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has announced that all of its jailed reporters, including a group of eight who had remained anonymous, are now free.

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