Make us Happy! Subscribe our YouTube Channel. We don't accept donations, and this is the best way to sustain our work.
Scarica subito gratis il file PDF del testo della trasmissione - The Best Popunder Adnetwork

bookmark_borderCambodia’s prime minister revokes license of independent news outlet Voice of Democracy

The government said it will strengthen journalism in the country

Originally published on Global Voices Advox

Readers and press freedom advocates used the hashtag #SaveVOD to show support to the VOD team. Photo from the website of the Overseas Press Club of Cambodia

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for nearly 40 years, has revoked the license of news outlet Voice of Democracy (VOD) for publishing an article that allegedly violated journalism ethics and harmed the reputation of the nation. Media groups have condemned the forced closure of VOD, one of Cambodia’s last remaining independent media platforms. VOD has been a content partner of Global Voices since 2019.

VOD posted a news story on February 9 quoting government spokesperson Phay Siphan, saying that Hun Manet, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the son of Hun Sen, had signed a government budget contribution of USD 100,000 to support earthquake relief efforts in Turkey and Syria. Hun Manet is expected to succeed his father as leader of the ruling party ahead of the July elections this year.

But Hun Manet denied that he signed the document mentioned in the VOD article. VOD published a follow-up article which included Hun Manet’s statement. Later, Hun Sen imposed a 72-hour deadline for VOD to issue an apology. He changed the deadline to 24 hours before issuing an order to revoke VOD’s license. He rejected the statement VOD issued in apology, deeming it insincere.

The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia wrote that it was “a dark and disturbing day for Cambodia and for press freedom” as it joined media and civil society groups in expressing concern over VOD’s shutdown. The joint statement signed by more than 90 groups urged authorities to uphold media freedom and the rule of law:

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s arbitrary deadline signals a serious threat to all independent media and journalists in Cambodia.

We call on the government to resolve the issue in a calm, professional and respectful manner that is in line with Cambodian law and that does not do lasting damage to Cambodia’s media landscape. We believe that the closure of VOD would represent a grave step backwards for both press freedoms and the rule of law in Cambodia.

They reminded the government that the country’s law allows a publisher to issue a correction or retraction seven days after a complaint is filed. The complainant can also sue for defamation or libel.

The sudden closure of VOD was compared to the shutdown of Cambodia Daily, which ceased operations in 2017 after it was slapped with several tax violation charges. Another independent media outlet that encountered government pressure was Phnom Penh Post, which continued until it was sold to a new owner in 2018. Veteran journalist Mech Dara, who has worked for these media outlets, noted how the government has consistently silenced the work of independent media:

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation insisted that the government did the right thing in revoking the license of VOD and that it will help promote the journalism profession in the country:

An administrative action against a rule-breaking entity does not merit any worry at all. What should be alarming is the mounting disinformation and intentional slanders, which undermine the essence and principles of human rights and freedoms.

The move against an unprofessional media outlet does not undermine the vibrant press freedom in the Kingdom, but contributes to the strengthening of profession of journalism.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith added that other media outlets should learn from the experience of VOD:

It is a lesson learned for other media institutions…The media institutions that do not agree to publish clarifications, [they] will face the revocation of their licenses.

News about the closure of VOD prompted its readers and media freedom advocates to express support online through the social media hashtag #SaveVOD.

Journalists from other news companies and civil society groups congregated at VOD’s office to offer support and show solidarity:

Human rights groups noted that VOD’s reporting is essential in covering the trials of political prisoners. Many state-affiliated papers are unable or unwilling to criticize the government or go against state narratives:

The VOD newsroom saw reporters comforting each other after it became evident that the prime minister would not reverse his decision:

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s office assured VOD journalists that they can find new jobs in the government

VOD digital editor Sreinith Ten has a reply to this offer:

Choosing a career is not as simple as changing clothes, let alone building a career path that has been shaping your values and world perspectives. What has been earned and built for individuals who strive for the public interests cannot be easily replaced by a given job #SaveVoD

The United Nations Human Rights office and the embassies of the United States, France, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, and Sweden have released statements urging Cambodia to renew VOD’s license.

Cambodia has a poor freedom of press track record, with a rating of 142 out of 180 in 2022, according to the Reporters Without Borders press freedom report. Freedom of expression further deteriorated during the pandemic as the Hun Sen government used the state of emergency to silence critics.

In 2022, media groups assailed the harassment of reporters who were covering labor protests. They recorded at least 57 cases of intimidation and attacks targeting journalists during the first ten months of the year. Authorities have also weaponized existing cybercrime laws to block critical content and to arrest individuals accused of insulting government officials. The crackdown on dissenting voices has also intensified as politically-motivated charges were filed against opposition leaders ahead of the July elections. The closure of VOD would deprive the public of a credible and independent source of information about the actions of the ruling party and other key issues that could influence the coming elections.

bookmark_borderMyanmar media two years after the 2021 coup: ‘Resistance, resilience, restoration’

“So let the nightmares come. I will conquer them.”

Originally published on Global Voices Advox

Journalist in Myanmar after the coup

File photo of a journalist covering an anti-coup protest in Myanmar in 2021. Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

Journalists in Myanmar have faced tremendous challenges and difficulties over the past two years as they continue to document the popular resistance against the military regime and the people’s demand to restore civilian rule and democracy.

This sums up the special briefing organized by the International Press Institute to mark the second anniversary of the February 2021 coup. IPI was joined by Mizzima News founding editor Soe Myint and freelance journalist Thin Lei Win who both highlighted the critical role of the independent media in countering the lies of the junta and spreading awareness about the pro-democracy movement.

Thin referred to the junta as a small group of people with arms and resources while the vast majority of the population wants to be free from them. Soe added that the extension of the state of emergency reflects the military’s desire to remain in power even if it lacks credibility and legitimacy.

Despite the vast resources at its disposal, the junta could not effectively govern as pro-democracy forces and armed ethnic groups have gained footholds across the country. In fact, the successful “Silent Strike” during the coup anniversary was widely seen as a loud indictment of the junta rule. People protested by refusing to go out in the streets.

Documenting the political crisis are citizen journalists and independent media networks who endure numerous risks in order to do their jobs. At least 130 journalists had been arrested for reporting on resistance to the junta. Around 72 remain behind bars and could receive harsh prison terms from junta-appointed courts.

During the online briefing, Thin talked about the trauma experienced by journalists who are reporting on the frontlines of the resistance. Those who are suspected of sympathizing with pro-democracy forces are threatened with state-backed reprisals. Even their families are targeted by pro-military forces.

This has undermined the work of the press aside from cutting off the business revenues of media outlets which suddenly lost ads, subscriptions, and subsidies. Readers could not be seen patronizing news companies that are accused of being critical to the military regime.

Forced to escape the country or to go into hiding, most media companies operated with revoked licenses. Against these odds and the constant threat of state crackdown, Myanmar’s independent media became more relevant as they continued to provide the public with credible information about the junta and the ongoing civil disobedience movement.

Soe noted that Mizzima’s readers increased as it adopted innovative and creative ways to deliver solution-oriented news. Thin explained the difficulty of sustaining news coverage if the focus is only on the conflict and human rights abuses; hence the need to adopt a broader set of themes that resonate with the global audience such as climate injustice, biodiversity loss, and Russia’s relationship with the junta.

Instead of succumbing to nonstop attacks after the coup, journalists persisted in carrying out their work. They embodied what Soe described as the principles that inspire the Myanmar citizens to move forward: “Resistance, resilience, restoration.”

Independent media and independent journalists are supposed to disappear, supposed to be killed, and supposed to stop… but two years after, we are able to do more than what we did even before the coup. This is resilience.

As the junta becomes more desperate to perpetuate itself in power, Thin and Soe emphasized the role of global solidarity in putting a spotlight on what’s happening in the country, especially the crucial task being undertaken by the media. This point was echoed by IPI when it organized the special briefing. “Amid multiple crises around the world, it’s crucial to not lose sight of what’s happening in Myanmar and to continue efforts to support the country’s journalists.”

For Thin, this also necessitates an engagement with foreign governments and technology companies, which continue to conduct business with the junta even though the tools and equipment are then weaponized against communities and remote villages across the country.

That is where the international community can come in to make sure that countries that supposedly adhere to human rights standards actually do something about it and make sure that even if they have sold these technologies to the Myanmar government, they are no longer operable.

Soe urged global stakeholders to ensure that Myanmar is not silenced or rendered invisible every time the junta restricts internet access by deploying alternative means of communication facilities.

Soe also called upon the international community and funders to keep Myanmar on their radar. A lack of attention to the context has only fueled the crucial funding support that CSOs, activists and independent media require. As a recent call to action for donors by Mizzima stressed, “a lack of appreciation for the current Myanmar situation hinders donors from providing the full necessary support for the country’s independent media…investing in Myanmar’s independent media is enabling freedom of speech in Southeast Asia, a region where there is little incentive to protect freedom of expression domestically.”

Thin and Soe warned that the junta wants the world to forget Myanmar, and the best way to defeat this sinister aim is to amplify more local voices. Indeed, the military regime is brutally silencing dissent, but the Myanmar people have found imaginative ways to evade censorship.

For example, Thin shared this powerful excerpt from an online diary of a Yangon journalist who wrote about the motivation to persevere amid the unrelenting violence of the junta.

“But when after an interview, people tell me that they are grateful for the opportunity to share their stories, I am both sad and happy. At the very least, with this work, I can stand by the people who are oppressed unjustly and help them. I will continue my journey with this mind and this strength.”

“So let the nightmares come. I will conquer them.”

“The international community must renew its commitment to Myanmar and protect and defend the courageous journalists who are risking their lives to report on the regime’s ongoing human rights abuses,” said IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen in a statement released after the briefing.

bookmark_borderCivil society groups call for justice after a radio broadcaster is killed in the Philippines

A second journalist has been killed under the Marcos government

Originally published on Global Voices Advox

Various groups joined a candle-lighting protest to call for justice for the killing of a radio broadcaster.

Various groups joined a candle-lighting protest to call for justice for the killing of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid. Source: Facebook post of Bulatlat, an independent news website, used with permission,

Veteran journalist Percy Lapid, whose real name is Percival Mabasa, was killed by two unidentified persons on October 3 in Las Piñas, Metro Manila, Philippines. He is the second journalist killed under the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., which came to power in July.

Lapid was a radio commentator through his show “Lapid Fire” which aired daily on DWBL station and broadcast live on Facebook. Lapid was a hard-hitting critic of the government who spoke about corruption, human rights abuses, and the dangers of historical revisionism.

His killing drew widespread protests and condemnation. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines led a candle-lighting protest as it called for justice:

The killing shows that journalism remains a dangerous profession in the country. That the incident took place in Metro Manila indicates how brazen the perpetrators were, and how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm.

The Cagayan de Oro Press Club noted that “the culture of impunity in the country has made members of the press easy targets by vested interest groups who want to hide the truth.”

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines added its voice in urging authorities to bring the perpetrators of the murder to justice.

Percy’s murder underscores the threats and risks Filipino media workers continue to face in the country.

We urge government authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and put an end to the killings of media practitioners.

President Marcos’s Executive Secretary assured Lapid’s family that the government will resolve the killing. The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) has vowed to pursue justice:

We at the Presidential Task Force denounce the murder of Percy Lapid and send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the victim. Rest assured that the PTFOMS will not rest until the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to justice. There is absolutely no justification for murder.

In an editorial, the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote that the president can do more to address impunity:

The President can also do more than just express “concern” about the killing, as he has so far communicated through a subaltern. His personal condemnation of the crime and vigorous call for justice should speed up police investigation and identification of the perpetrators, and help exact full accountability from them.

The Commission on Human Rights underscored the role of protecting a free press in a democracy:

We have also repeatedly underscored the crucial need to ensure a safe and unimpaired media environment in order to amplify the voices of the most marginalised sectors and to foster balance in communicating the nation’s state of affairs. Journalists, who primarily responsible for informing the Filipino citizenry of critical information, must be able to work without fear.

Human rights group Karapatan cited the killing of Lapid to remind the United Nations Human Rights Council to initiate an independent investigation on the human rights situation in the country and “conduct more decisive and substantive steps towards justice and accountability for human rights violations in the Philippines.”

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros paid tribute to Lapid:

Sir Percy was a strong dissenting voice that made sure government officials did not become too comfortable with power.

Percy’s death, and all the deaths of all other journalists before him, will never silence us. We will never tolerate a society that is afraid of the truth.

Global media groups have condemned the killing of Lapid. The Embassies of Canada, Netherlands, and France have issued a statement of concern about the killing:

Journalist killings strike at the very core of media freedom & can create a chilling effect that curtails the ability of journalists to report news freely & safely.

Radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was the first journalist killed under the new government. He was stabbed to death on September 18 in Manibay town, Negros Oriental.

I nostri audiolibri su Audible