India, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand - restrictive law

In India the situation of activists and journalists remains precarious under the COVID-19 lockdown

Human rights defenders across India continue to be arrested and detained - some under draconian laws - despite the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, for raising questions or criticising the authorities. Journalists have also been targeted, including in Indian administered Kashmir. The authorities have also used the opportunity to destroy the Shaheen Bagh protest site in Delhi and to criminalise those protesting the discriminatory Citizen Amendment Act (CAA). Read more

In India the situation of activists and journalists remains precarious under the COVID-19 lockdown

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

Activists disappeared or arrested in Pakistan while media faces restrictions and threats

Over the last few months, Pakistani human rights defender Idris Khattak was forcibly disappeared, activist Muhammad Ismail was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges, while his daughter and women rights activist Gulalai Ismail fled the country. The authorities also denied entry to a representative from the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ), warned news anchors not to express their opinions, while journalists from the Dawn newspaper faced threats for their reporting. Student protesters including Alamgir Wazir were arrested and charged for their activism. Read more

Activists disappeared or arrested in Pakistan while media faces restrictions and threats

Activists, lawyers and critics continue to face harassment and defamation charges in Thailand

In the last few months, there has been harassment against activists, lawyers and government critics from both the state as well businesses while the bones of a disappeared ethnic Karen activist were found. A new report by Human Rights Watch documented cases of peaceful critics who have been prosecuted by the government for the last five years and concerns have been raised about a new anti-fake news center established by the authorities. A study finds that SLAPP or strategic lawsuits against public participation are on the rise. Read more

Activists, lawyers and critics continue to face harassment and defamation charges in Thailand

Singapore authorities threaten editor with libel and smear critical online news sites

The Singapore government has continued to take action to target the media, activists and others for criticising the government. An independent news website The Online Citizen (TOC) is being forced to take down a critical article, online news sites have been smeared as ‘advancing foreign interests’ while a human rights lawyer is being targeted for his anti-death penalty advocacy. Read more

Singapore authorities threaten editor with libel and smear critical online news sites

Civil society concerned about physical attacks and ongoing prosecution of Thai activists

In the last few months, there have been physical attacks against activists and human rights defenders or activists who have disappeared or placed under surveillance. Further, land rights activists from Sai Thong National Park have been prosecuted and jailed while pro-democracy student activists are facing sedition charges. Read more

Civil society concerned about physical attacks and ongoing prosecution of Thai activists

Arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment and attacks on activists and critics in India persist

Over the last few months, there has been the continued use of restrictive laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Sedition Act to harass, criminalise and detain activists and silence dissent. Cases have also been documented of attacks and ill-treatment of activists by the police, attacks on journalists and at least one case of an activist that has gone missing. Read more

Arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment and attacks on activists and critics in India persist

Singapore parliament passes ‘Online Falsehoods Bill’ despite civil society concerns

The ‘Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill’ to combat fake news was submitted to parliament in April 2019 and has been tabled for a second reading in May despite concerns it could stifle freedom of expression. Activist Jolovan Wham was sentenced to a fine or days in prison, in February 2019 for organising an ‘illegal assembly’ and for contempt of court in April 2019. Singapore has remained ranked at a dismal 151st spot out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index released in April 2019 Read more

Singapore parliament passes ‘Online Falsehoods Bill’ despite civil society concerns

Media censored, activists silenced and opposition weakened ahead of Thai elections

Ahead of the 24 March elections there have been continued reports of media outlets and journalists being censored, activists being silenced and criminalised and opposition politicians being targeted . Further, restrictive laws and decrees issued by the military junta have yet to be lifted. Read more

Media censored,  activists silenced and opposition weakened ahead of Thai elections