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Looking for Space in the Lao Dam Debate

Laos’ road to its hydropower in the last 20 years or so has from been an easy, or smooth, one. Looking back, it has been the focus of efforts, led by the World Bank, for setting better standards for dam projects, as well as  the magnet for a cascade of criticism from environmental and other campaign groups. Johanna Son deliver into these in the second part of this set of stories for  Heinrich Boll Foundation Southeast Asia.

Laos: Dammed Information?

Six months after the 2018 collapse of a dam in Laos, the flow of information appears to have slowed down to a trickle, making it difficult to figure out actual costs and the development toll. But could there be new opportunities in what seemed to be more space in public discussion, including in an era of social media, in the aftermath of the dam disaster? Johanna Son looks into these in the first of a two-part set of articles for Heinrich Boll Foundation Southeast Asia.

China: Dominant, distrusted in ASEAN

While its dominance is acknowledged, China is not seen as an altruistic presence by most respondents in Southeast Asia, according to a report of the Singapore-based ASEAN Studies Center.

Laos: ‘We Have This Commitment On Hydropower’

Reporting ASEAN transcribed the following translated remarks made by Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith about Laos’ hydropower policy in the wake of the Jul. 23, 2018 collapse of a dam in the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy project.

Developed and Displaced in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, Jun 30 – Families moved to distant, poorly equipped resettlement areas to make way for railways in the Philippines. Villagers still dealing with the loss of access to livelihood resources decades after dam construction in Thailand. Communities in Indonesia seeing their lands converted to palm oil plantations run by privately held concessions.

For Urban Asylum Seekers, Uncertainty is the Certainty

A permanent state of uncertainty is how life is for asylum seekers and urban refugees in Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities. Often invisible in the cities they live in, they cannot work legally and do not have papers to stay for long periods of time, even if the process of seeking asylum takes years, reports Johanna Son*.   

Media Freedom: Much More Than Just the Media’s Problem

Talk of media freedom in Southeast Asia these days has to include media accountability. It is time for the different users of the information sphere – journalists, media houses, media monitoring groups, journalism professors and researchers, consumers – to protect the space for free media to operate, Johanna Son writes in this analysis for World Press Freedom Day.

The Minefield of Reporting the Rohingya

Reporting on the Rohingya is a tricky assignment, requiring Myanmar’s journalists to pick their way between pressures from the government and from the public. Many avoid discussing the topic too much for reasons of personal safety as well as the political and financial survival of their news outlets, explains Johanna Son in this Reporting ASEAN analysis.

 

Looking for ‘ASEAN Way’ in the Rohingya Crisis

ASEAN has more credibility with Myanmar than other countries. But what ‘ASEAN way’ can it pull out of its hat to find a relevant, effective role in the humanitarian and political disaster flowing from the Rakhine state and refugee flows of mainly Rohingya people? Johanna Son looks at ASEAN’s options in this article published in the ‘Bangkok Post’.

 

 

THAILAND: Could A ‘Cleaner’ Fishing Industry Set New Norms?

Cleaning up atrocious labor practices in Thailand’s commercial fishing industry won’t happen overnight, even as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report documents both progress and persistent problems. But experts say reforms may well lead to new norms that other countries in Southeast Asia and beyond would be pressed to follow, reports Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

What Comes After the Election of Women?

In its 15 years as an independent nation, Timor-Leste has blazed a trail in gender equality and empowerment, especially in putting more women in political positions from the village to the national level. Now, it is time to ask how a robust gender-quota system has delivered its benefits to society, says this article for the 2017 Developing Media Fellowship of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance. Helio Pereira of Times Timor magazine contributed to this piece.

New Rules, New Fears for Myanmar’s Migrants

Myanmar’s migrants, the largest group of migrant workers in Thailand, are no strangers to living with uncertainty. But the latest set of new rules about their registration – there have been several others over the years  – has many nervous about being able to continue to work in this Southeast Asian country. Than Soe Aung of Mon News Agency reports for the 2017 Developing Media fellowship of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

Thailand’s Invisible Gender Law

Thailand passed a Gender Equality Act in 2015, but few people know about it – and this is part of the problem in addressing the discrimination that transgenders face in the country. Neang Sinen of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights looks deeper into this issue for the 2017 Developing Media Fellowship program of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

 

Can A Regional Body Like ASEAN Eliminate Violence against Women?

More than seven years after ASEAN member states created the ASEAN Commission for the Protection of the Rights on Women and Children, what impact has it have – or can it have – on countries’ efforts to address gender-based violence within? Amanda Siddharta looks into the issue in this feature for the 2017 Southeast Asian Press Alliance annual fellowship program.

The Missing Numbers

ASEAN’s Commission on the Protection of the Right of Women and Children is supposed to show ASEAN’s commitment to women’s empowerment. Yet it and ASEAN itself lag behind other organizations in presenting, collating gender-disaggregated data.  Reporting ASEAN’s Amanda Siddhartha reports for the 2017 fellowship program of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.

For Gender Justice, Women Journalists Use the Power of the Pen

It wasn’t easy to discuss issues of gender, be it the sexual abuse of women and girls or discrimination in the workplace, but Vietnamese journalists and growing sections of the media have been creating space for this. Tran Thi Thuy Binh of Hanoi Radio and Television tells us more in this in-depth feature.

When Media is Insensitive

Media have contributed to the campaign to bring child sex abuse cases to the public eye, bring justice to the victims and their families, and increase public awareness of the rights of young people and their families. But some media reportage, of the type that violate children’s rights and expose them and their families to more injustice and prejudice, have also been a problem, Tran Thi Thuy Binh of Hanoi Radio and Television reports.

How Women Journalists Stay with the Child Sexual Abuse Story

Two Vietnamese women journalists have doggedly focused on looking into child sex abuse issues in Vietnam, helping raise a public outcry over these and pushing authorities and the courts to take action. Tran Thi Thuy Binh of Hanoi Radio and Television tell us how their reportage, which has won awards, are making a difference in society.

 

In Search of A Political Voice Back Home

Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand lament the fact that many of them will be unable to vote in the 2018 national election at home, because the law has no provision for allowing them to cast their vote overseas. Min Pov of the Voice of Democracy tells us more in this article for the 2017 Developing Media Fellowship program of SEAPA.

Building an Alliance Culture in ASEAN

Increasingly, Filipino businesses eyeing expansion are looking in their ASEAN neighborhood for opportunities – especially Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Doris Dumlao-Abadilla of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, writing for the Reporting ASEAN programme, tells us more in the third/last of this three-part series.

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