Veteran journalist and Rappler founder Maria Ressa was convicted Monday in the Philippines of a ‘cyber libel’ charge stemming from an article published by her site in 2012. The case against Ressa is seen by press advocates as yet another legal attack on speech under the swaggering administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, for whom Rappler has been a thorn in the side. We spoke with Glenda Gloria, the digital outlet’s managing editor, to learn what comes next for their reporting — and legal appeal of Ressa’s conviction.
In another story from the Philippines, we look back to the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, a towering volcano north of Manila. When Pinatubo finally blew nearly 30 years ago, the first time it had in about 600 years, the volcanic ash it blasted into the air disrupted weather patterns and blotted out the sun. Survivors of the blast told us about the post-apocalyptic conditions they witnessed that day and in the weeks that followed.
Before Myanmar’s embattled leader fell from grace amidst the violent ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority, she was a bright symbol of the democratic struggle in her country. Screenwriter Rebecca Frayn captured that moment in the 2011 biopic ‘The Lady’; today, on Suu Kyi’s 75th birthday, we reflect with Frayn on the arc of the leader’s life.
It’s been two weeks since Thai activist Wanchalearm Satasksit was abducted off the street in front of his Phnom Penh apartment. With his whereabouts still unknown, Thais are flooding Twitter to demand their government act to uncover the truth of his disappearance and do more to protect those who speak out for a more democratic state.
Angkor Wat is usually one of the most-touristed sites in Southeast Asia, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at it now. Editor Alastair McCready visited the ancient temple to marvel at the unintentional peace brought to the place by the Covid-19 era. His photos show an Angkor Wat that few get to see.
Singaporean democracy has long been fraught with accusations of unfair practices at the ballot booth. Now, critics are pointing to Covid-19 measures as yet another factor tipping the scales toward the ruling People’s Action Party. The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights group published a report yesterday outlining the shortcomings of the electoral process — we spoke with one of their members to get a fuller idea of how the vote could be improved.
The BLM movement has captured the imagination and compassion of people the world over. Joan Chun, deputy director of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association, shared with us some vital thoughts from the diaspora amidst this struggle for equality and recognition.
The movement to find justice for the slain Black American George Floyd has resonated with Khmer Americans. Members of the diaspora community shared some poignant thoughts with us — read them here.
In our first partner piece from Pacific Forum, researchers Thi Mong Tuyen Tran and Lee Jun Jie outline the need for an ever more-united ASEAN.
International relations lecturer Tom Smith brings us his perspective on the Ressa conviction: Don’t overlook the struggles of all the other workaday Filipino journalists also languishing under the Duterte administration.
The Covid-19 outbreak has only strengthened the argument for indigneous rights in Indonesia, writes researcher Andre Barahamin. Long overlooked by the state, these communities took their safety into their own hands using traditional knowledge.
The Covid era has prompted a return to traditional arts across the region. In the Isaan region of northern Thailand, a prominent film director is promoting the art of local women to alleviate poverty.