India, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand - restrictive law

Lawyers representing death row prisoners, activists and journalists face harassment in Singapore

Over the last few months, lawyers have faced harassment and punitive cost orders for their work defending individuals on death row. The authorities have questioned activists for their activism against the death penalty and an individual was convicted for a solo protest. The authorities have also sentenced a journalist and media contributor for defamation; censored a student; and denied a migrant worker a work permit because of his activism. The authorities also issued a correction direction against a news website. Read more

Lawyers representing death row prisoners, activists and journalists face harassment in Singapore

Journalists and critics continue to be targeted despite political transition in Pakistan

In recent months, individuals have been detained for critical tweets, while journalists have been assaulted, detained, and harassed. Some face multiple charges for criticising state institutions. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has issued directives warning the media against criticising state institutions. Protests against disappearances and electricity cuts have been met with arrests or excessive force. In addition, the prosecution of human rights activist Muhamad Ismail has continued, as detailed below Read more

Journalists and critics continue to be targeted despite political transition in Pakistan

Singapore continues to restrict fundamental freedoms, despite downgrade in civic space rating

In recent months, the authorities banned a book on political cartoons and censorship and pulled the launch of a memoir written by a prominent civil society activist. Activist Jolovan Wham was convicted of violating the Public Order Act and ordered to pay a fine. Protesters who had called to end discrimination against LGBT+ groups were given police warnings. A report by international human rights group FIDH highlighted how Singapore’s laws and practices contravened international human rights standards on peaceful assembly Read more

Singapore continues to restrict fundamental freedoms, despite downgrade in civic space rating

Despite UN review, Thai government continues to silence dissent, push restrictive NGO bill

In recent months the royal defamation law was used to jail a protester for two years while a UN body found the detention of a woman jailed for 43 years to be arbitrary. There were also reports of protesters being arrested, charged and tortured by the police. Civil society continues to push back against a restrictive NGO bill while the government seeks to expel an international human rights group and there are concerns of the use of tax audits to target NGOs. Read more

Despite UN review, Thai government continues to silence dissent, push restrictive NGO  bill

Pakistani journalists, activists remain at risk while new restrictions against online dissent passed

In recent months, the government the has enacted amendments to the cybercrime law which threatens to stifle online dissent while journalists have been harassed, criminalised and even allegedly tortured. Further, a new law to protect journalists has imposed new censorship mechanisms. A social media activist was assassinated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while human rights defender Idris Khattak has been convicted and sentenced after an unfair trial. The judicial harassment of human rights activist Muhamad Ismail has continued, and the authorities have continued to target leaders of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), while enforced disappearances have affected hundreds of families. Read more

Pakistani journalists, activists remain at risk while new restrictions against online dissent passed

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

The authorities have blocked access to foreign funding for NGOs using the restrictive Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and raided the offices of human rights groups for allegedly violating the law. There continues to be a lack of accountability on the use of the Pegasus spyware against activists, while human rights defenders and journalists continue to be targeted, including in Jammu and Kashmir. Activists and protesters also remain in detention on various trumped up charges. Read more

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

Increasing use of draconian UAPA and other repressive laws to stifle dissent in India

In recent months, the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and anti-terror laws has continued to be misused against activists, journalists and online critics especially around the communal violence in Tripura and in the detention of human rights defender Khurram Parvez. There have also been attacks against Right to Information (RTI) activists and attacks on the farmers’ protests. Read more

Increasing use of draconian UAPA and other repressive laws to stifle dissent in India

Singapore passes draconian foreign interference law, rejects UN recommendations on civic space

Civic space in Singapore has continued to narrow, as the government passed an encompassing law on foreign interference, despite widespread dissent, which could be used to clamp down on fundamental freedoms. The authorities suspended the licence of the independent media outlet The Online Citizen (TOC), while the courts ruled in favour of the Prime Minister on accusations of defamation against the TOC editor and writer. The authorities rejected an application by an activist against a correction order under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), while a rapper has been charged with promoting feelings of ill will. Read more

Singapore passes draconian foreign interference law, rejects UN recommendations on civic space

Thai activists and protesters face judicial harassment, excessive force despite upcoming UN review

In recent months activists and protest leaders have continued to be summoned, arrested and detained on various charges including royal defamation and sedition. Some have been denied bail. A new emergency regulation issued in August 2021 threatens online freedoms. Criminal defamation charges have been brought by companies against a woman activist and a journalist. Police have used excessive force including water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protests. Protesters have been detained and suffered injuries, including children. Concerns continue to be raised about a draft law which includes counter-terrorism financing measures to regulate non-profit groups.
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Thai activists and protesters face judicial harassment, excessive force despite upcoming UN review

Singapore PM listed as press freedom ‘predator’ as journalists continue to be targeted

In recent months, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was included in a list of violators of press freedom. Journalists have continued to face defamation and other charges for their reporting, there are reports of increasing surveillance and an individual has been charged under the Official Secrets Act. Read more

Singapore PM listed as press freedom ‘predator’ as journalists continue to be targeted