Our Asia-Pacific editor Mong Palatino looks back at a busy month for freedom of expression in the Asia-Pacific region.
Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa was arrested on 13 February 2019 for cyber libel regarding an article that was published in May 2012, four months before the Philippine Cyber Crime Prevention Act was signed into law. She was released after posting bail on 14 February.
Cambodia’s human rights record was reviewed at the UN, Thailand’s Twitter users supported the campaign of refugee seekers from Saudi and Bahrain, Pakistan held its first transgender pride march, and new cyber laws take effect in Vietnam and Fiji.
AJI said the president’s decision to reduce Susrama’s sentence has obstructed justice. In 2010, he had been found guilty of being the mastermind behind the killing of journalist Prabangsa.
Protests take place in Burma, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and West Papua; new laws threaten online free expression in Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Nepal; and same-sex relations decriminalized in India, as Hong Kong starts process of recognising same-sex spouses in visa proceedings.
In June: Vietnam’s new Cybersecurity Law, Indonesia’s new Counterterrorism Law and Cambodia’s recent media directive threaten human rights, attacks against media continue, a massive all-women protest takes place in South Korea against ‘spy cam’ porn, and more.
Aliansi Jurnalis Independen documents violent attacks and threats of layoffs plaguing Indonesian media in the past year.
On the one-year anniversary of the death of popular Cambodian activist Kem Ley, civil society organisations from around the world reiterated their call for an independent inquiry.