Today is #WorldPressFreedomDay!
On Press Freedom Day, we want to take this as an opportunity to recognize all the brave independent journalists, citizen journalists, and media outlets who have been fighting for human rights. It’s not easy nor safe for anyone who chooses to shed light into the truth, when state oppression aims to silence these critical voices.
Our amazing Artist collaborator for this post, @ivana_kurniawati, talked to us about the powerful message behind her illustration: « truth is a bright path created by brave journalists who stand against state oppression, yet they aren’t free to speak. Their reporting often comes at a cost, sometimes life itself. But freedom of speech is fundamental for other human rights and without it, we are all lost in the dark. We also want to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives while doing their job. »
Going against state oppression is a dangerous job, yet journalists continue to provide us with insights into the reality of our society.
Some key data ⤵️
📌 Recent data shows that in 2022, at least 67 journalists and media workers were killed. It is the highest number since 2018 and an almost 50% increase from 2021.
📉 On the Press Freedom Index 2023, several Southeast Asian countries are situated towards the bottom. Out of 180 countries, Thailand is number 106; Laos 160; Vietnam occupies place 178; and Myanmar is number 176 – falling 36 places since the 2021 Index, but climbing three places compared to the 2022 Index.
There are currently 74 journalists in prison in Myanmar, many simply for speaking up against the violence perpetrated by the military junta.
❗Duong Van Thai, a prominent Vietnamese blogger living as a refugee in Thailand, was forcibly disappeared earlier in April. Initially nothing was known about his whereabouts, but Vietnamese authorities later confirmed he is in their custody. Although the custody period ended recently, the police violated the law by not providing information about his status pending trial.
💻 UNESCO states that 57 laws and regulations in 44 countries have been either adopted or amended to threaten online freedom of expression.
This data offers only a small glance at the situation. The everyday reality for many journalists is far worse: being followed, threatened, hacked on social media, and other intimidation tactics are employed to deter them from speaking against governments.
Manushya stands in solidarity with journalists and the media in their efforts to unmask injustices! Press freedom is a fundamental right to a true democratic society, and a pillar in the solidification of other human rights.
#WeAreManushyan ♾ Equal Human Beings
👉 Free speech is something we have always advocated for. Have a look at some of our previous work in this area:
#StopDigitalDictatorship Campaign in Southeast Asia
Freedom on the Net 2022: Internet Freedom Remained Under Threat in Thailand, 19 October 2022
Joint Submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights “The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age: Mass surveillance, Digital contact-tracing, Social Media Monitoring, and Data Requests in Southeast Asia”, June 2022
Raising awareness about Thai Government’s blocking of no112.org website, used to gather signatures to repeal the lèse-majesté law, 8 February 2022
Joint Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression: “Freedom, Independence, Diversity of Media and the Safety of Journalists in Southeast Asia”, January 2022
Thailand UPR III Factsheet on Digital Rights, 9 September 2021
World Press Freedom Day post, 3 May 2021
Thailand UPR III Joint Submission on Digital Rights to the 39th Session of the UPR Working Group: Digital Rights, 25 March 2021
Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), Deadly year for journalists as killings rose sharply in 2022, (24 January 2023), available at: https://cpj.org/reports/2023/01/deadly-year-for-journalists-as-killings-rose-sharply-in-2022/
Reporters Without Borders, Press Freedom Index, (2022), available at: https://rsf.org/en/index
Radio Free Asia, Police give no information on detained Vietnamese blogger after end of custody period, (25 April 2023), available at: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/duong-van-thai-04252023143444.html
UNESCO, Press freedom in times of crisis and transformation, available at: https://www.unesco.org/reports/world-media-trends/2021/en/global-trends?TSPD_101_R0=080713870fab20003797c8f5ceb15cf3209a633204b0bee0f1ff6a745f0a8fa2fc96f04f98201b100853af162b14300080fab3a29073489bd4a1888003cae62e3d605378a452d20470127c7c4327eb757ee0ea310317a2ade16b2ac8a8ef2029