CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Shawn W. Crispin

CPJ Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn W. Crispin is based in Bangkok, Thailand, where he has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 15 years. He has led CPJ missions throughout the region and is the author of several CPJ special reports.

Blog   |   Malaysia

Closure of news site underscores Malaysia's press freedom crisis amid 1MDB scandal

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks to the press in September 2015. News outlets that critically covered allegations in the 1MDB scandal are facing censorship and pressure. (Reuters/Olivia Harris)

On March 14, The Malaysian Insider abruptly closed its editorial operations less than a month after the state media regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, blocked local access to its news site.

March 21, 2016 1:02 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Thailand

Thailand aims to hollow out foreign press with new visa restrictions

Thailand's Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai at a press conference in Bangkok in 2015. He says the new media guidelines will curb 'misleading' coverage. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)

Senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin this week presented CPJ's concerns about new media visa restrictions for foreign reporters based in Thailand to a group of Bangkok-based ambassadors. The controversial measures, announced last month by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are scheduled to come into force on March 21. The text of Crispin's speech follows:

March 10, 2016 10:43 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Malaysia

Amid financial scandal, Malaysia increases pressure on media

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, standing, has been cleared of wrongdoing, but the independendent media are tenaciously challenging the official narrative. (AP/Joshua Paul)

A financial scandal involving a state investment fund created and overseen by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, exposed in turns by investigative journalists, has put a parallel spotlight on the country's deteriorating press freedom situation. A suggestion by the government's top lawyer to strengthen the 1972 Official Secrets Act to penalize journalists who decline to divulge confidential sources with life imprisonment and judicial caning aims to squelch by threat a stream of official leaks that have sustained the politically sensitive story for the past eight months.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Exile the price of freedom for Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan

Nearly two months after her early release from a decade-long prison sentence, Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan is settling into life in exile in the U.S. Hers was the latest in a series of U.S. State Department-negotiated releases of political prisoners held on anti-state charges on condition they promptly leave Vietnam, removed from their families, homes and communities.

December 15, 2015 12:01 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Vietnam

US-Vietnam strategic partnership must be contingent on press freedom

Secretary of State John Kerry and Communist Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on August 7. The U.S. and Vietnam are working on a strategic partnership. (Reuters/Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool)

Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Vietnam was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the former adversaries. While Kerry's speech during his three-day tour emphasized the need for Hanoi to improve its rights record to deepen bilateral ties, it is time Washington dispensed with vaulted rhetoric and predicated future economic and strategic engagement on the release of jailed journalists.

Blog   |   Malaysia

Dogged by fraud allegations, Malaysia targets media

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, denies allegations that he received money from a state investment fund for personal use. (AP/Joshua Paul)

Investigative reporting on alleged mismanagement of a Malaysian state investment fund has triggered a backlash against muckraking media. On Friday, the Home Ministry ordered the suspension of two local news publications, The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, for three months on the grounds that their reporting on the fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), had prejudiced public order, security, and national interests, according to news reports. The suspension came into effect today.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Jailed Vietnamese blogger Ta Phong Tan on hunger strike over mistreatment

Incarcerated blogger Ta Phong Tan has been on hunger strike since May 13 to protest the mistreatment of political prisoners at the prison where she is being held in Vietnam's central Thanh Hoa province, according to news reports. It is believed to be the third time Tan has fasted in protest at poor prison conditions since she was detained in September 2011 for her critical reporting.

Blog   |   Indonesia

Widodo's lifting of ban on foreign media in Papua is step in right direction

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced over the weekend that his government would allow foreign journalists to report unrestricted from the country's eastern Papuan provinces, breaking a virtual 50-year blackout of international news coverage of the restive region. The announcement raises the prospect of an independent media check on one of Asia's most under-reported civil conflicts between the Indonesian state and Free Papua Movement rebel group.

Blog   |   Vietnam

In Vietnam, arrests dash hopes that crackdown on bloggers will end

Protesters in Hanoi hold up pictures of jailed bloggers and activists in May 2014. Hopes that authorities would end the repression of bloggers have faded with the arrest of three more writers. (Reuters/Nguyen Huu Vinh)

What one hand gives, the other takes in Vietnam. Last October's early release of jailed blogger Nguyen Van Hai, more commonly known as Dieu Cay, has proven to be an anomaly as authorities have subsequently ramped up their repression of other independent bloggers.

Blog   |   Vietnam

Undercover in Vietnam: Room for debate frees up but bloggers remain imprisoned

In the final part of CPJ's "Undercover in Vietnam" series on press freedom in Vietnam, Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin reveals how prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai remains behind bars for his critical writing despite the margin for debate opening. The series concludes with recommendations for the Vietnamese government and international bodies.

Petitions calling for the release of Nguyen Van Hai are scattered across a table at the CPJ International Press Freedom Awards. Hai is serving a 12-year sentence for blogging. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images for Committee to Protect Journalists/AFP)

Incarcerated for the past six years in poor prison conditions, Nguyen Van Hai has suffered dearly for his critical views on China. First detained on trumped up tax evasion charges in 2008, and subsequently convicted in 2012 on anti-state charges for blogging, 62-year-old Hai is currently serving a 12-year jail term that his family fears could be a death sentence in view of his declining health.

September 30, 2014 10:44 AM ET

Tags:

Social Media

View all »