SEAPA workshop aims to establish regional monitoring network
November 8, 2004
Regional media organization trains monitors to keep watch on media freedom violations.
The Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA) and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) recently conducted a workshop on monitoring media freedom violations with the objective of setting up a regional monitoring network.
The workshop was held over five days from Oct 25 at the Thai Journalists’ Association Building in Bangkok.
Eleven participants from Burma, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste were introduced to the types of media freedom violations and the nitty-gritty of writing an alert.
They were journalists from Mizzima News (India) and Timor Post (Timor-Leste) as well as a couple of freelancers, and representatives from the Centre for Independent Journalism (Malaysia), Aliran Kesedaran Malaysia, Center for Media Freedom/Responsibility (Philippines), Alliance of Independent Journalists (Indonesia), Yayasan KIPPAS, ISAI (Indonesia) and Thai Journalists Association.
The participants learnt about the problems they might face as monitors and how to investigate cases discreetly, the categories of alerts according to purpose and what to put in an alert.
For many of them, the regional workshop was also a chance to get firsthand information about the media situation in their neighbouring countries and to build solidarity.
They were exposed to the problems facing Burmese journalists in exile, the conflicting challenges facing rising democracy Cambodia, and the dangerous situation in the Philippines which has the most number of journalists killed during peace time.
The speakers and trainers were Prof Victor Avecilla from the University of the Philippines; Sunai Phasuk from the Human Rights Watch, Thailand; Sonny Inbaraj, regional editor of Inter Press Service; Marianna Tzabiras from IFEX; Kulachada Chaipipat, SEAPA alert coordinator; and Chi Liquicia, SEAPA programme manager.
The workshop also incorporated a one-day session on gender issues by Neng Magno from the Chulalongkorn University.