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Q&A: In the New Burma, ‘Democracy Alone is Not Enough’

“I didn’t want to be a journalist, but of course I didn’t want to be a political prisoner either,” editor and author Kyaw Zwa Moe said. “But I just did what I believed I should do.” He talked to Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son at the July launch of his book ‘The Cell, Exile and New Burma’ in Bangkok.

Q&A: ‘Accountability Separates Journalism from Everything Else’

Navigating the news in Southeast Asia requires separating fake news from professionally done media products, discernment and evaluation, highlighting how the media landscape has changed. In this Q & A with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son, Hong Kong University’s Masato Kajimoto talks about the need for news literacy – and media credibility.

Q&A: ‘We Have Propaganda In Our Brain’

Myanmar may be a politically freer country, but has many more challenges to media freedom today. In this chat with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son,  Yin Yadanar Thein, the co-founder of Free Expression Myanmar, says the country’s undemocratic habits – including the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government’s policies toward the press – will take a long time to unlearn.

 

Q &A: Disaster Aid with an ASEAN Touch

ASEAN has a humanitarian and disaster response center, although many may not know it. The AHA Centre has been active in Myanmar’s Rakhine State – and has precious access owing to Myanmar’s comfort level with ASEAN – and in the wake of last year’s tensions in the Philippines’ Marawi City. This Q & A with the AHA Centre with Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son tells us more.

Q & A: Doing Sex Work Doesn’t Erase One’s Rights

“You don’t lose your human rights because you take a dollar for sex,” Liz Hilton of the Bangkok-based Empower Foundation tells Reporting ASEAN’s Johanna Son in this Q & A. But this has not been easy to push in Southeast Asia, where sex work is illegal in almost all  countries, she explains.

ASEAN’s Double Vision of Migration

Though far from radical, ASEAN’s consensus document on migration means that the regional grouping has to keep the conversation going, although it still sticks to putting skilled professionals and lower-skilled migrants in separate silos. Doing more on migration might make ASEAN closer to its constituency, as it is a bread-and-butter aspect of foreign policy. Johanna Son of Reporting ASEAN tells us more.

Q&A: ‘Every Decision Must Be in Line with Gov’t Policy’

As ASEAN’s 50th year celebrations come to an end, what impact has the  ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) had in pushing member states to address violence against women? How much can it do as a regional body when member states tightly guard against anything that can ‘interfere’ with domestic issues, and when ASEAN is bound by its consensus principle? Reporting ASEAN’s Amanda Siddharta has a frank chat with former ACWC head, Lily Purba.

ASEAN Likes, But Also Fears, China’s Economic Weight

China is not yet an economic behemoth in ASEAN, given that it’s s more of a trade power than a major foreign investor in the region. But the day may not be so far away when ASEAN countries find China’s clout to be much bigger – and a more potent geopolitical tool in areas like the South China Sea disputes – if they do not diversify their economic ties, writes Johanna Son for the Reporting ASEAN series.

Vietnam Has Homework to Do on ASEAN

More than 20 years after Vietnam joined ASEAN, ASEAN’s work and impact have not seen much in-depth coverage – or media interest – in the country. Nguyen Ngoc Tran looks into why this is so in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.

Bumpy Road for the Philippines as ASEAN Chair

The Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN during the organisation’s 50th year has been a bumpy road, Walden Bello points out this Reporting ASEAN commentary. The year has been marked by Malaysia’s breaking of the ASEAN consensus habit in the ASEAN chair’s statement on Rakhine state, the Philippines’ failure to push the social-protection mechanisms it listed as deliverables, and the Duterte government’s giving China a free pass in the South China Sea.

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