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Media independence in focus

UNESCO Bangkok and the South-East Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) have joined hands to highlight the importance of freedom of expression and media independence, especially during and after conflicts and crises. On this year’s World Press Freedom Day on May 1, UNESCO will sponsor a panel discussion and launch a website on banned publications and reports.

Amidst political changes and turmoil in the South-East Asia region, nothing about the media is more crucial than its independence.
Having just emerged from a fierce political confrontation, Bangkok is a befitting venue for this year’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day.

UNESCO Bangkok and the South-East Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) have joined hands to highlight the importance of freedom of expression and media independence, especially during and after conflicts and crises.  On this year’s World Press Freedom Day on May 1, UNESCO will sponsor a panel discussion and launch a website on banned publications and reports.

The event will take place at the centrally located Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

The panel discussions on media independence will comprise two components:  regional and national.  UNESCO will support the regional panel discussion.

Speakers from Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines will share with Thai journalists the experiences in their respective countries.  The invited panellists will talk about the post-conflict role of journalists after the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, President Suharto’s rule in Indonesia, and President Marcos’ presidency in the Philippines. 

On the same occasion, the Thai Journalists Association will organize a panel discussion with a national focus.  Two speakers from Thailand will discuss the current situation of media independence in Thailand, where the government is currently walking a tightrope of political tension.

Another highlight of the day, also sponsored by UNESCO, is the launch of a website on banned materials in the South East Asia region.  Both UNESCO and SEAPA have been gathering information on materials banned in South-East Asian countries.  It is now considered timely to give public access to the information through a website.  It is hoped the website will attract the attention of free media advocates who may help the collection to grow by sending additional information on banned materials, in either their own countries, or from abroad.    



21.04.2009