Shawn W. Crispin / Senior Southeast Asia Representative

CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn W. Crispin is based in Bangkok, Thailand, where he has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 15 years. He has led CPJ missions throughout the region and is the author of several CPJ special reports.

Maria Ressa, the founder of Rappler, arrives at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila on January 22, 2018. Ressa says she believes the news website is being harassed because of its critical coverage of the President of the Philippines. (AFP/Noel Celis)

Rappler fights to survive amid rising threats to journalists in the Philippines

On January 15, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that online news group Rappler had violated laws barring foreign ownership and control of local media, and moved to revoke its registration.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, speaks with journalists in June. The new leader has given mixed messages on press freedom. (AFP/Manman Dejeto)

Philippine leader blows hot and cold on press freedom

Newly installed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has sent mixed messages on his commitment to upholding press freedom and combating impunity in media murders, a mix of hope and fear that has broadly defined the first months of his leadership. Uncertainty about Duterte’s stance on the media’s watchdog role comes against the backdrop of a “war…

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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, standing, has been cleared of wrongdoing, but the independendent media are tenaciously challenging the official narrative. (AP/Joshua Paul)

Amid financial scandal, Malaysia increases pressure on media

A financial scandal involving a state investment fund created and overseen by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, exposed in turns by investigative journalists, has put a parallel spotlight on the country’s deteriorating press freedom situation. A suggestion by the government’s top lawyer to strengthen the 1972 Official Secrets Act to penalize journalists who decline to…

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Secretary of State John Kerry and Communist Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on August 7. The U.S. and Vietnam are working on a strategic partnership. (Reuters/Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool)

US-Vietnam strategic partnership must be contingent on press freedom

Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit to Vietnam was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the former adversaries. While Kerry’s speech during his three-day tour emphasized the need for Hanoi to improve its rights record to deepen bilateral ties, it is time Washington dispensed with vaulted rhetoric and predicated future…

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Jailed Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan on hunger strike over mistreatment

Incarcerated blogger Ta Phong Tan has been on hunger strike since May 13 to protest the mistreatment of political prisoners at the prison where she is being held in Vietnam’s central Thanh Hoa province, according to news reports. It is believed to be the third time Tan has fasted in protest at poor prison conditions…

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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…

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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)

Freedom with limits in Burma

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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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinto is greeted by Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Myo Myint, right, upon her arrival in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Wednesday. (AP)

Clinton must tread carefully in Burma

When U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets this week with Burmese President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and senior ranking members of the military establishment, she conspicuously will not have the opportunity to meet with journalist Sithu Zeya. Sithu was detained by police after recording the impact of a bomb that…

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Zunar displays a copy of his previously banned cartoons. (AP)

Press freedom heroes in Southeast Asia

Three Southeast Asian journalists–Cambodia’s Hang Chakra, Malaysia’s Zulkiflee Anwar Ul Haque, or Zunar, and Thailand’s Chiranuch Premchaiporn–were among the 48 awardees of the Hellman/Hammett grant, given to writers targeted with political persecution, who were recognized today by Human Rights Watch for their commitment to press freedom.

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Jose Pavia, press freedom champion, dies at 72

Jose Pavia, a veteran journalist and tireless press freedom advocate, died on April 18 in the Philippines. Pavia, known simply as “JLP” among his friends and journalist colleagues, was a key partner in CPJ’s Global Campaign Against Impunity. He was 72 and had been battling cancer.

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