AUSTIN SZABO WRITES – For years, news anchor and journalist Hamid Mir has been fighting for the cause of a free press in Pakistan. Now he’s fighting for his own life. Still recovering from an unsolved assassination attempt April 19, Mir, undaunted, issued a statement accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)…Full Article PAKISTAN: Are Government Spies Behind Media Assault?
LAUREN CHEN WRITES — “Soon there will be no more Hong Kongers,” laments Yik Kan Cheung, post-production supervisor of GVAcreative, in response to Beijing’s stalwart censorship. Filmed in March, a satirical short film, called Hong Kong Will Be Destroyed After 33 Years, has been banned by Beijing’s propaganda authorities. The science fiction work depicts Hong…Full Article HONG KONG: No More Hong Kongers?
YVONNE EPPS WRITES — We’re already familiar with Vietnam’s war on peaceful protest and “Internet dissent.” But really: Is it wise to attack a journalist en route to a UN human rights review? Vietnamese authorities kept independent journalist, civil society advocate and prospective UN speaker Pham Chi Dung from leaving…Full Article VIETNAM: Relationship Status with the UN — It’s Complicated
LAUREN CHEN WRITES – Mainland authorities continue to usurp Hong Kong press freedom by silencing dissenting voices. Publisher Yao Wentian was arrested on what appear to be bogus charges of smuggling prohibited items, and has been detained for almost three months. Wentian is head of Morning Bell Press, a Hong Kong…Full Article HONG KONG: Mainland’s War on Hong Kong Publications
AMBER VERNETTI WRITES – The Wolf of Wall Street, the contentious, prize-winning film directed by Martin Scorsese, was released in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with significant scene deletions and other adjustments. Due to the film’s abundant use of derogative language (over 500 curse words) and lurid scenes of drug abuse…Full Article UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: UAE Presents “The W*** of W*** S*****”
AUSTIN SZABO WRITES – The deaths of three reporters at the hands of Taliban gunmen Jan. 17 is the latest in a series of terrorist attacks designed to silence anti-Taliban reporting in the afflicted country. On Friday, a group of gunmen on motorcycles shot into the van of three Express Tribune…Full Article PAKISTAN: Death of Tribune Staffers Underscores Dangers of Reporting
MARLENA NIP WRITES – Imagine not being able to use a certain word because your ideals don’t match those of the ruling party. Then imagine being under investigation by your government for using said word. That’s the case for a Catholic priest in Malaysia after saying the word “Allah” at…Full Article MALAYSIA: ‘Allah’ is a no-go for Non-Muslims
AUSTIN SZABO WRITES – Pakistani student and education activist Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography has been well received everywhere, it seems, but in her own country. On November 11, The Guardian reported that nationwide, Pakistani private schools had banned her book, I Am Malala, from being studied or read. Education officials point…Full Article PAKISTAN: Malala’s Book Banned in Schools
MARLENA NIP WRITES — Tick Tok. At the eleventh hour, the Malaysian government closed its gates to American pop star, Ke$ha. The risqué pop star was scheduled to play a concert in Kuala Lumpur, the nation’s capital. Livescape, the promotion group holding the event, was notified the night before that Malaysian…Full Article MALAYSIA: Government says NO to Ke$ha
AUSTIN SZABO WRITES – The front page of Pakistan’s only LGBT support website, Queer Pakistan, reads “Don’t Hate Us, Know Us!” The Pakistani government said no. In another attempt to impede social progress in Pakistan, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (the PTA) censored the website, saying “Surf Safely! This website is…Full Article PAKISTAN: First Gay Pakistani Site Blocked
LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Everything you type can and will be held against you. Microblogging has become insanely popular over the past few years in China, much like Twitter here in the US. Many critics on these micro blog sites have become online superstars whose millions of followers read, debate…Full Article CHINA: Blogging Crackdown
AUSTIN SZABO WRITES: You can’t trust your kids once the sun goes down. At least that’s what Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) officials say. The News reports that the Pakistani government has demanded wireless companies stop selling late-night cellphone packages to teenagers, claiming such deals will ultimately destroy the country’s culture. Their logic? Discount…Full Article PAKISTAN: At Prices This Low, Teens Can’t Afford Not to be Immoral
BRIAN CANAVE WRITES – Taipei Times highlights the lack of a more diverse and critical media system. But wait, isn’t it one of the biggest newspapers in Taiwan? Recently, Taipei Times has published two articles stressing the media’s important role on uncovering news the government may have covered up, as…Full Article TAIWAN: Does Taiwan Media Need Reform?
They’re at it again in Bangkok, reports the highly respected political website PRACHATAI. As its journalist Suluck Lamubol, writing for the site, tells us: “Asia Books, Thailand’s largest English language bookstore, on Thursday withdrew from their bookshelves two academic titles on Thai history, citing “political sensitivity.” The books concern the…Full Article THAILAND: Two More Important Books Derailed by Unofficial but Vicious Censorship
ELIZABETH NAAI WRITES – China and the U.S. are not alone in the trenches of cyber warfare. The 4th Army Region has taken up mouses and keyboards to uphold lese majeste in an increasingly connected Thailand. Task Force 45 of the Thahan Phran — hunter soldiers — left a deluge…Full Article THAILAND: Social Media, the New Censorship Kryptonite?
BRIAN CANAVE WRITES – Will Taiwan follow suit in building its own version of China’s unique Internet censorship policy known as the “Great Firewall”? China is infamous for its Internet services blocking international websites. For Taiwan, the country’s Intellectual Property Office says for now it will only target international websites…Full Article TAIWAN: Modelling After China’s Great Firewall?