World Press Freedom Day celebrated in the region

IFJ affiliates in Asia Pacific held different activities, ranging from freedom festival to discussions and marches to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day 2019. Here’s the run down from the region:

Timor Leste Press Union (TLPU)

Timor-Leste Press Union together with Timor-Leste Journalists Association (AJTL) had a long march along the route of Liberdade Impress or the Press Freedom Street. They walked around 3 kilometers to spread the message on how importance to protect the freedom of the press in the country.

The journalists also visited the site where Sander Robert Thoenes, a journalists worked for Financial Times in Dili, killed on September 21, 1999 when East Timor at that time was still in turmoil.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)

NUJP together with different organization defending the press freedom and free expression in the Philippines held the Freedom Festival. They had different events, ranging from discussion, protest, online screening, launching of video for change impact toolkit, and ended with Freedom Festival Jam.

The event is important since media in the country is facing threats, particularly after the Presidential Palace announced the matrix or the alleged plot of the media and groups of lawyers to take down the government.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia

AJI Indonesia which has 38 chapters across the country celebrated the World Press Freedom Day with various events. Most of the chapters had a rally and discussions of the press freedom in Indonesia.

The violence against journalists in Indonesia, particularly during political years, kept increasing. Based on the data published by AJI, there were 64 cases of attacks on journalists in 2018, rose from 60 cases in 2017.

The  total number was the second highest in 10 years. The type of violence was ranging from the physical attacks, intimidation, and limit journalists’ access. Aside from this, the cyber-attacks has also risen. The libel cases using the cyber-law has become another type of threat for journalists and media workers in Indonesia.

The media ownership by politicians has also caused the newsrooms to lose their independency. Instead of serving the public interests, journalists are more loyal to the owners of the media or politicians.

National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJM)

The National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJM) has published the statement for this year’s World Press Freedom Day. The union has urged the newly elected government to repeal the 1984 Printing, Presses and Publishing Act (PPPA) and other relevant laws and regulations that curb the freedom of the press in the country in the democratic process.

In one of NUJM’s chapter, the NUJ New Straits Times Press (NSTP) has celebrated the WPFD 2019 with charity bazaar. The proceed will be used to help the union’s members, particularly Jason Gerald, a former NST Melaka correspondent. Jason was diagnosed with diabetes and had his left foot amputated recently. Due to his condition, Jason is now unable to work. His family is now appealing for funds to meet monthly medical bills, follow up treatment, and other expenses.

Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA)

The Myanmar Journalists Association has released a statement to demand the government to strengthening the commitment to improve press freedom in the country. Media will definitely take a huge part to support the democracy.

Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has published a statement. One of the point they highlighted was calling the government to take immediate steps to ensure their security. Also to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day, the union were lit the candles.

Journalists’ safety and the culture of impunity are still lingering in Pakistan. Last year, there were 94 journalists and media workers were killed. Out of the total victims, five were from Pakistan.

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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