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Developed and Displaced in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, Jun 30 – Families moved to distant, poorly equipped resettlement areas to make way for railways in the Philippines. Villagers still dealing with the loss of access to livelihood resources decades after dam construction in Thailand. Communities in Indonesia seeing their lands converted to palm oil plantations run by privately held concessions.

Jul 11: Launch of Book on Burma & Chat with Author

From Burma’s prisons to the 1988 uprising and to the border towns and communities of displaced ethnic groups, ‘The Cell, Exile and the New Burma’ revisits many of the stops in this Southeast Asian country’s more recent history. What does Burma’s past tell us about the future?

Q&A: ‘Accountability Separates Journalism from Everything Else’

Navigating the news in Southeast Asia requires separating fake news from professionally done media products, discernment and evaluation, highlighting how the media landscape has changed. In this Q & A with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son, Hong Kong University’s Masato Kajimoto talks about the need for news literacy – and media credibility.

For Urban Asylum Seekers, Uncertainty is the Certainty

A permanent state of uncertainty is how life is for asylum seekers and urban refugees in Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities. Often invisible in the cities they live in, they cannot work legally and do not have papers to stay for long periods of time, even if the process of seeking asylum takes years, reports Johanna Son*.   

Q&A: ‘We Have Propaganda In Our Brain’

Myanmar may be a politically freer country, but has many more challenges to media freedom today. In this chat with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son,  Yin Yadanar Thein, the co-founder of Free Expression Myanmar, says the country’s undemocratic habits – including the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government’s policies toward the press – will take a long time to unlearn.

 

Media Freedom: Much More Than Just the Media’s Problem

Talk of media freedom in Southeast Asia these days has to include media accountability. It is time for the different users of the information sphere – journalists, media houses, media monitoring groups, journalism professors and researchers, consumers – to protect the space for free media to operate, Johanna Son writes in this analysis for World Press Freedom Day.

The Minefield of Reporting the Rohingya

Reporting on the Rohingya is a tricky assignment, requiring Myanmar’s journalists to pick their way between pressures from the government and from the public. Many avoid discussing the topic too much for reasons of personal safety as well as the political and financial survival of their news outlets, explains Johanna Son in this Reporting ASEAN analysis.

 

Q &A: Disaster Aid with an ASEAN Touch

ASEAN has a humanitarian and disaster response center, although many may not know it. The AHA Centre has been active in Myanmar’s Rakhine State – and has precious access owing to Myanmar’s comfort level with ASEAN – and in the wake of last year’s tensions in the Philippines’ Marawi City. This Q & A with the AHA Centre with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son tells us more.

Looking for ‘ASEAN Way’ in the Rohingya Crisis

ASEAN has more credibility with Myanmar than other countries. But what ‘ASEAN way’ can it pull out of its hat to find a relevant, effective role in the humanitarian and political disaster flowing from the Rakhine state and refugee flows of mainly Rohingya people? Johanna Son looks at ASEAN’s options in this article published in the ‘Bangkok Post’.

 

 

THAILAND: Could A ‘Cleaner’ Fishing Industry Set New Norms?

Cleaning up atrocious labor practices in Thailand’s commercial fishing industry won’t happen overnight, even as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report documents both progress and persistent problems. But experts say reforms may well lead to new norms that other countries in Southeast Asia and beyond would be pressed to follow, reports Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

Q & A: Doing Sex Work Doesn’t Erase One’s Rights

“You don’t lose your human rights because you take a dollar for sex,” Liz Hilton of the Bangkok-based Empower Foundation tells Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son in this Q & A. But this has not been easy to push in Southeast Asia, where sex work is illegal in almost all  countries, she explains.

ASEAN’s Double Vision of Migration

Though far from radical, ASEAN’s consensus document on migration means that the regional grouping has to keep the conversation going, although it still sticks to putting skilled professionals and lower-skilled migrants in separate silos. Doing more on migration might make ASEAN closer to its constituency, as it is a bread-and-butter aspect of foreign policy. Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN tells us more.

What Comes After the Election of Women?

In its 15 years as an independent nation, Timor-Leste has blazed a trail in gender equality and empowerment, especially in putting more women in political positions from the village to the national level. Now, it is time to ask how a robust gender-quota system has delivered its benefits to society, says this article for the 2017 Developing Media Fellowship of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance. Helio Pereira of Times Timor magazine contributed to this piece.

New Rules, New Fears for Myanmar’s Migrants

Myanmar’s migrants, the largest group of migrant workers in Thailand, are no strangers to living with uncertainty. But the latest set of new rules about their registration – there have been several others over the years  – has many nervous about being able to continue to work in this Southeast Asian country. Than Soe Aung of Mon News Agency reports for the 2017 Developing Media fellowship of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

Thailand’s Invisible Gender Law

Thailand passed a Gender Equality Act in 2015, but few people know about it – and this is part of the problem in addressing the discrimination that transgenders face in the country. Neang Sinen of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights looks deeper into this issue for the 2017 Developing Media Fellowship program of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

 

Spotlight on Gender, Access to Information in ASEAN

The Reporting ASEAN program is collaborating with the Southeast Asian Press Alliance by publishing the articles produced by its fellows in its Regional Reporting Fellowship program for 2017, the focus of which is on gender and access to information in the ASEAN region.

Can A Regional Body Like ASEAN Eliminate Violence against Women?

More than seven years after ASEAN member states created the ASEAN Commission for the Protection of the Rights on Women and Children, what impact has it have – or can it have – on countries’ efforts to address gender-based violence within? Amanda Siddharta looks into the issue in this feature for the 2017 Southeast Asian Press Alliance annual fellowship program.

The Missing Numbers

ASEAN’s Commission on the Protection of the Right of Women and Children is supposed to show ASEAN’s commitment to women’s empowerment. Yet it and ASEAN itself lag behind other organizations in presenting, collating gender-disaggregated data.  Reporting ASEAN’s Amanda Siddhartha reports for the 2017 fellowship program of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

Q&A: ‘Every Decision Must Be in Line with Gov’t Policy’

As ASEAN’s 50th year celebrations come to an end, what impact has the  ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) had in pushing member states to address violence against women? How much can it do as a regional body when member states tightly guard against anything that can ‘interfere’ with domestic issues, and when ASEAN is bound by its consensus principle? Reporting ASEAN’s Amanda Siddharta has a frank chat with former ACWC head, Lily Purba.

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