IMPUNITY CASE PROFILE
Mam Sonando, 70, is the founder of Beehive Radio, one of only three independent radio stations in Cambodia. He is also the director of the Democrats Association, and holds both Cambodian and French citizenship.
Mam Sonando was arrested at his home on 15 July under five articles of the Cambodian Penal Code, including charges of insurrection and incitement to take up arms against the state. He was detained at the Prey Sar Prison in Phnom Penh and denied bail, despite bouts of illness resulting from poor conditions. His trial took place in Phnom Penh from 11 to 14 September, along with 11 other accused, including three who were absent.
IMPUNITY CASE PROFILE
“Who killed Udin?” This is a question the media community in Indonesia is pursuing, in its efforts to bring justice in the killing of Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, fondly known as Udin, from August 1996. Time is running out as the window of the investigations into and prosecution of the killer/s will close in August 2014. Without a legal remedy, Udin's case becomes another example of impunity in a country where journalists have been targeted for their work in reporting on corruption and abuse of power.
To date, the authorities have denied that the case has been ignored, yet little progress has been made since the arrest and trial of a suspect, whom Udin's family and the journalists believe is a scapegoat. The police in Yogyakarta, where Udin lived and worked, insist that they are still investigating the case but face difficulties in collecting evidence and getting adequate witnesses.
Bangkok – At least 100 cases related to impunity against the exercise of freedom of expression have been recorded in Southeast Asia for 2012, according to the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).
SEAPA, a media freedom advocacy NGO, today released a brief report of its count of impunity-related incidents in 2012 today, as it began a series of activities to mark the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) on Friday.
[See online summary of the report 'Impunity in Southeast Asia ' on Prezi]
Bangkok – The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), a Bangkok-based regional media freedom advocacy group, today launches its annual commemoration of the international day to end impunity on 23 November.
The 23 November commemoration—the second by SEAPA—is part of its ongoing campaign, “Stop Impunity in Southeast Asia”, which aims to draw public attention to, and to call for justice for those who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression.
[Listen to a podcast of an interview by BFM radio (89.9) in Kuala Lumpur, of SEAPA's campaign officer, Kulachada Chaipipat, about the campaign.]
SEAPA initiated two ‘town hall meetings’ in Myanmar—one in Yangon on 23-24 September and one in Mandalay on 26 September—with the aim providing support for the media community to empower themselves in lobbying for a free media legal environment in Burma. These activities were organized within the context of the considerable expansion of press freedom in the country, including the end of pre-publication censorship, and the announcement of the drafting of a new press/media law.
The following document summarises the recommendations and inputs from the two Town Hall Meetings organized in Yangon and Mandalay and attended by 90 working journalists, discussing issues related to media law, self-regulation of the media and professional capacities of journalists.
IMPUNITY CASE PROFILE
The morning of 24 September must have been an unforgettable for Binh Nhi, a 29-year-old who had just secretly traveled thousands of kilometres by train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Binh Nhi was caught by the police and was heavily beaten in custody. The wrong he committed was that he wanted to go to the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City, where the trial of a very famous blogger was taking place that morning. Hundreds of policemen, both uniformed and plain clothed, were ubiquitous in the area to stop people from approaching the court, even though it was officially a ‘public’ trial.
Dieu Cay is the pen name of the blogger on trial. While he was in court that morning, his ex-wife and son were kept outside the court and prevented from attending the hearing, despite their desperate and angry objections. Police even ripped off the son's "Free Dieu Cay” t-shirt. A young policeman taunted them shouting, “[You want] Freedom? Your freedom is my penis!”
IMPUNITY CASE PROFILE
Hang Serei Odom, 44, had been working as a journalist at the Khmer-language Virakchun Khmer daily in Ratanakkiri, northeast of Cambodia, for four months when he was brutally murdered in September this year.
Hang Serei Odom left his home on 9 September, telling his family that he would only be gone for a short while to meet a certain “Mr Heng”. His wife, Im Chanthy, who was seven months pregnant at that time, called the police when he did not return the following day.
Impunity can be broadly defined as non-accountability for actions that violate rights. This means individual perpetrators escape or are exempt from punishment or prosecution, perhaps due to the absence of rule of law. Because of this, more such acts will be committed because it is highly unlikely that perpetrators will be made to answer for their crimes. On a bigger level, impunity also concerns states that can continually mete out punishment without accountability on human rights concerns.
This brief report summarizes SEAPA’s monitoring of media freedom and freedom of expression in Southeast Asia. The numbers cited are by no means exhaustive, as these represent cases that the SEAPA’s Alert unit has been able to record through its monitoring of media news and alerts system.
Bangkok - The standard set by the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) falls below international human rights standards on freedom of opinion and expression, a regional press freedom watchdog said today.
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) said that the omission of the phrase ‘regardless of frontiers’ from the declaration meant that it fell below the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which the regional group had pledged to uphold through the declaration.
SEAPA today sent the following open letter to Myanmar President U Thein Sein expressing concern about hate speech coming from some members of the Myanmar media and government officials. But rather than recommending a media clampdown, SEAPA insists that supporting media freedom is a better way to finding durable solutions to the conflict.