Freedom of expression

  • Thailand: Mirror Foundation head arrested under emergency decree
    September 21, 2011

    Mirror Foundation president and social activist Sombat Boon-ngamanong was arrested under the emergency decree. Pol Lt Col Suthin Sappuang, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Division 5, led his team to arrest Mr Sombat, also a core red shirt supporter. Mr Sombat and 20 of his followers were tying strips of red cloth to a billboard at the Ratchaprasong intersection with the aim of making it a symbol for the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship. Police charged him with violating the emergency decree and said his action was a threat to peace.

  • Thailand : Fourth journalist wounded while covering clashes between Thai soldiers and anti-government protesters
    September 21, 2011

    On Friday, 14 May, three journalists were injured on Wireless Road, which runs along the eastern side of Lumpini Park. Canadian national Nelson Rand, who works for France 24 TV channel, was shot three times – in the abdomen, one of his legs and another in one of his wrists. He was rushed to Chulalongkorn Hospital where he underwent surgery. Another journalist was wounded by gunfire during the second day of renewed clashes between Thai security forces and anti-government protesters in Bangkok on 15 May 2010.

  • Singapore: Former ISA detainee censored by government
    September 20, 2011

    The Government has barred Mr Vincent Cheng from speaking about his detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA). Mr Cheng was arrested in May 1987 together with more than 20 Singaporeans and detained for up to two years. They were accused of conspiring to violently overthrow the Government through a network that advocated Marxist principles. Mr Cheng, a Catholic church worker, was accused of being the ringleader. He was detained without trial and beaten and tortured into confessing what Mr Lee Kuan Yew accused him of.

  • Philippines : 90 journalist killed from January to September 2010
    September 20, 2011

    At least 90 journalists have been killed doing their job so far this year, a 25 percent increase on the same period of 2009, the media watchdog Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said Wednesday.

  • Philippines : Journalists intimidated by military
    September 20, 2011

    Manila Standard Today reporter Florante “Bong” Solmerin was reportedly manhandled by officials at the country’s main military installation, Camp Aguinaldo, in Quezon City on July 30, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate.

    Solmerin, who is also president of the Philippines Defence Press Corps (DPC), acknowledges he had forgotten to display his official identification when entering the facility, and that he exchanged “heated words” with officers.

    He claims they continued to intimidate and question him despite his attempts to explain his presence and show his credentials when questioned. He tried to leave to avoid further confrontation, but two officers continued to yell at him and refused to return his identification.

    Solmerin was then pursued by the officers, who tried to punch him, before taking him to the office of deputy camp commander Navy Captain Miguel Fio Sequisame.

    Sequisame threatened to ban Solmerin from Camp Aguinaldo and referred to the media killings that plague the Philippines. He was reported to have said, “You know sometimes we soldiers no longer wonder why these things happen to you in the media.”

    Solmerin was also questioned about who had authored a report in the press which detailed an alleged illegal “beer joint” operating within the military complex.

    Solmerin’s case is the first major reported incident of intimidation of a journalist by the military since Aquino took office on June 30. However, defence reporters Eden Magcarlas, from Net 25, GMA 7 cameraman Jun Fronda and Hataw columnist Joel Egco said they experienced similar behaviour on August 3, despite displaying their official press cards.

  • Philippines: Human rights group’s lawyer receives death threat
    September 20, 2011

    Human rights watchdog Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas lambasts suspected military agents who sent a death threat letter to Katungod-SB’s former Secretary-General and its current Legal Officer, Atty. Kathrina Castillo. The letter was received by her mother last Friday, April 16, 2010 at their ancestral house in Catbalogan, Samar which was sent via snail mail. According to Katungod-SB, this is a systematic red-baiting by the military to justify the harassment, abduction and killings of personalities and members of progressive groups and partylists.

  • Indonesia: Student demonstrators shot by plice
    September 20, 2011

    The police defended their decision to fire on protesters on Wednesday, saying the demonstration was illegal. One protester, Restu Farel, 20, from Bung Karno University, was shot in the leg.

  • Indonesia: Whistle-blower detained by former colleagues for fraud
    September 19, 2011

    After undergoing a seven-hour questioning session, former National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji was detained at the National Police headquarters after being named a suspect in a bribery case.The National Police move triggered speculation the detention was a form of “revenge” against Susno, who has testified about judicial corruption involving several police generals. Last week, Susno reported “unfair” treatment by the police to the National Commission on Human Rights.

  • Indonesia: Sound of Hope Radio Network shut down by Indonesian government
    September 19, 2011

    On 25 March 2010, staff from the Indonesian government’s Radio Frequency Spectrum Monitoring Center confiscated Sound of Hope’s broadcast equipment, making the station go silent.Known locally as Era Baru Radio, the station broadcasts news programs critical of the Chinese communist regime and its human rights abuses. Sound of Hope has been facing mounting pressure from the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta to end its broadcast. It has been fighting for its broadcast license in a Supreme Court case for the last three years.

  • Cambodia: Activist fears arrest after court bungle
    September 19, 2011

    An opposition Sam Rainsy Party activist from Prey Veng province says he fears arrest after accidentally missing a court appearance last week in connection with charges of defamation and disinformation.