criminal defamation

Activists and opposition face judicial harassment as emergency measures in Thailand raise concerns

Protesters holding a “Run Against Dictatorship” in January 2020 faced obstruction, harassment and intimidation. A leading opposition party was dissolved by the courts in February 2020, a move that many believe was politically motivated. Authorities have dropped serious charges against officials involved in the murder of a prominent ethnic Karen activist. A journalist was convicted for her social media post and human rights defenders continue to face charges for exposing labour abuses. New emergency laws passed could threaten the right to freedom of expression and access to information Read more

Activists and opposition face judicial harassment as emergency measures in Thailand raise concerns

Online debate on Dong Tam incident followed by pandemic silenced by Vietnam authorities

Since January 2020, the Vietnam government has attempted to silence any online debate or criticism of the government’s handling of a land dispute in Dong Tam that left four people dead. The authorities have also convicted well-known journalist and blogger Truong Duy Nhat to ten years in prison and have been seeking to block the dissemination of information online around the COVID-19 pandemic. The government is also modelling China and forcing activists and political prisoners to undergo public confessions on television. Read more

Online debate on Dong Tam incident followed by pandemic silenced by Vietnam authorities

Massive protests after suspension of municipal elections in Dominican Republic

On 16th February 2020, the Dominican Republic abruptly suspended nationwide municipal elections which were already in progress. People had been casting ballots for hours when election officials reportedly realised that there was an issue with about 60% of the electronic voting machines. In response, the Dominican Central Electoral Board made the decision to suspend the elections. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Massive protests after suspension of municipal elections in Dominican Republic

Reforms at risk in Malaysia while repressive laws continue to be deployed around the pandemic

Since the change of government in early March 2020, activists and protesters have faced judicial harassment from the police for their activism and restrictive laws have been used to charge individuals for spreading misinformation on the COVID-19 virus and for insulting royalty. Further there has been a lack of progress by the government taskforce into into the disappearance of activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh. Read more

Reforms at risk in Malaysia while repressive laws continue to be deployed around the pandemic

Changes ahead or status quo? Presidential promises amidst ongoing prosecution of political activists

During December 2019 there were numerous detentions of citizens participating in unsanctioned demonstrations, especially on Kazakhstan’s Independence Day on 16th December 2019, which is marked every year with demonstrations and small-scale pickets across the country. The detentions illustrate that the worrying trend of detaining anyone who demonstrates public dissent continues. However, on 20th December 2019 President Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev made several statements which alluded to potential positive changes in the situation for civil society, media and activists in Kazakhstan.
Read more

Changes ahead or status quo? Presidential promises amidst ongoing prosecution of political activists

CSOs fault new regulations, journalists harassed despite improvement in media freedom

CSOs opposed to the draft amendments to the Law on Non-Governmental Organisations that require all NGOs make their activity public and submit a separate report to the State Revenue Committee; National Assembly Standing Committee on European Integration holds an extraordinary meeting to discuss the creation of the Civil Society Platform; CSOs concerned about the increased intimidation and harassment of journalists despite significant improvements in media freedom that were made in the country after the 2018 revolution. Read more

CSOs fault new regulations,  journalists harassed despite improvement in media freedom

A bleak winter for freedom of expression

Despite criticism from the Council of Europe, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, international media freedom organisations, the EU, local media and journalists organisations, on 13th December 2019 the ruling Socialist Party MPs in the Albanian Government, voted in favour of two controversial laws regulating online media. With the adoption of the Law on Audiovisual Media and the Law on Electronic Communications as proposed to the Parliament, the Albanian Media Authority and the Postal and Electronic Communications Authority would have had the power to instantly block websites if they were viewed to have published fake news, defamatory content, hate speech or any content that is deemed to be a threat to the national interests or security. Read more

A bleak winter for freedom of expression

Laos activist Od Sayavong still missing six months on, while critics continue to be silenced

Lao authorities are believed to have been involved in the enforced disappearance of activist Od Sayavong and Phetphouthon Philachane in 2019. Government critic Houayheuang Xayabouly has been convicted for criticising the authority’s slow response to floods. Villagers in Luang Namtha are resisting a land development project while there has been no progress around the case of disappeared human rights defender Sombath Somphone seven years on. Read more

Laos activist Od Sayavong still missing six months on, while critics continue to be silenced

News site blocked while critics and journalists arrested or attacked with impunity in Bangladesh

In recent months, the Bangladesh authorities have blocked a news website and arrested and charged critics under the draconian Digital Security Act. Activists linked to the ruling party were involved in attacks on journalists covering the Dhaka municipal elections in February 2020 and the death of a student who criticised the government online. There have been restrictions and attacks on peaceful rallies by opposition groups while Rohingya refugees face increasing restrictions in Cox Bazar. Read more

News site blocked while critics and journalists arrested or attacked with impunity in Bangladesh

Demands for accountability and transparency over measles outbreak in Samoa

There have been calls for a national commission of inquiry into how the measles epidemic spread so quickly across the country in October 2019. In January 2020, the Prime Minister slammed the Samoa Observer newspaper for its criticism of the Legislative Assembly while a blogger has been jailed for insulting the Prime Minister. An anti-vaccination critic has been arrested. Read more

Demands for accountability and transparency over measles outbreak in Samoa