Myanmar has become a case study for how disinformation, fake news and hate speech affect online space and content, and therefore, public perceptions and debates. In this Q & A, The Irrawaddy’s Moe Myint shares his insights about the challenges, some of them very dangerous for professional journalists, thrown up by the toxic online environment marked by misinformation and deep divisions in Myanmar today.
In the first episode of our Teashop Talk, Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son talks to senior media trainers about where coverage of ASEAN issues is in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Vietnam, and what skills would help local journalists report more creatively and confidently about regional matters.
“I didn’t want to be a journalist, but of course I didn’t want to be a political prisoner either,” editor and author Kyaw Zwa Moe said. “But I just did what I believed I should do.” He talked to Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son at the July launch of his book ‘The Cell, Exile and New Burma’ in Bangkok.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
China is not yet an economic behemoth in ASEAN, given that it’s s more of a trade power than a major foreign investor in the region. But the day may not be so far away when ASEAN countries find China’s clout to be much bigger – and a more potent geopolitical tool in areas like the South China Sea disputes – if they do not diversify their economic ties, writes Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.
More than 20 years after Vietnam joined ASEAN, ASEAN’s work and impact have not seen much in-depth coverage – or media interest – in the country. Nguyen Ngoc Tran looks into why this is so in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.
The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN during the organisation’s 50th year has been a bumpy road, Walden Bello points out this Reporting ASEAN commentary. The year has been marked by Malaysia’s breaking of the ASEAN consensus habit in the ASEAN chair’s statement on Rakhine state, the Philippines’ failure to push the social-protection mechanisms it listed as deliverables, and the Duterte government’s giving China a free pass in the South China Sea.
Laos has been more diplomatically adept than Cambodia at balancing ties with China with those of other countries. But while both are undoubtedly dancing with China, the social, economic and developmental cost of this dance remains to be seen in the coming years, says Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN in this analysis.
Since China has suffered a “century of humiliation” from the imperial powers, it should understand that ASEAN states, too, can suffer similar “humiliation” from China, Bo Yuan writes in this commentary. In fact, its behaviour in the South China Sea tells ASEAN countries that China sees them as “tributaries” – akin to those during the Imperial China era – that must kowtow to the Middle Kingdom’s supremacy.
At 50 years old, ASEAN has a lot of work to do to boost its internal strength, making itself more of a middle power through concrete steps that include implementing its own agreements, reviewing its currency basket, giving national treatment to its own investors – and beefing up its own security discussion forums. Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN explains more.
ASEAN is basking in its 50-year glory, but this milestone has also shown how it is, in a sense, its own weak spot. The challenge from within ASEAN itself is its refusal or inability to fix itself from within so that it is solid enough to stave off divisions caused by the presence or absence of external powers, whether it be China, or the United States, explains Johanna Son.
When history is written one day of how a country called the Philippines dealt with China, would it make for a legend about how it smartly navigated geopolitical waters to assert its territorial and economic rights – or a case study in how to bend over backwards and cede these to its giant neighbour to the […]
As ASEAN reaches the 50-year mark, it should free itself from the old confines of navigating between the big powers and build its muscle as a middle power – one that confidently and collectively holds its own against undue external pressures, be it China, the United States, or others. Johanna Son* reports.
As ASEAN marks its 50th year, calls are being made for a rethink of its consensus principle. This element of the ‘ASEAN Way’ is often faulted for what is seen as tepid, weak and slow responses by the association, but ASEAN’s member states see it as crucial to having kept diverse member states together over the decades – and ensure they keep the conversation going. Nik Luqman contributed this think piece to Reporting ASEAN.
As ASEAN takes stock of its record on its 50th anniversary, it would do well to adapt and change its non-interference policy, which prevents the association from being a genuine, effective ASEAN Community. In this Q&A, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights’ Charles Santiago talks to Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son about ASEAN’s shortfalls in human rights.