Deadly December: Media killings, political crackdown, and attack on women journalists in Asia

His relatives and members of the community take part in the funeral procession for Afghan journalist Rahmatullah Nikzad, Ghazni province, Afghanistan, 22 December 2020, -/AFP via Getty Images

Media killings continue in Afghanistan

Seday-e-Ghor (Voice of Ghor) radio editor Besmillah Adel Aimaq was shot dead in a car ambush on 1 January, the first journalist to have been killed in 2021.

Hong Kong crackdown targets activists and journalists

Hong Kong’s crackdown on dissenting voices intensified in December with the conviction of pro-democracy youth leaders Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam for holding an “unlawful assembly” in 2019. Wong was handed out a 13-and-a-half-month prison sentence, Chow got 10 months, and Lam seven months. The charge is linked to the June 2019 protest when thousands of people surrounded a police headquarters denouncing the use of force in dealing with those who were campaigning against the extradition amendment bill.

Women journalists under attack

Several women journalists across the region faced legal and political persecution because of their work.

New and noteworthy

Software Freedom Law Center, India has launched Free Speech Tracker, a crowdsourced research project monitoring instances of free speech violations and the laws governing free speech in India. It tracks instances of website blocking, art censorship, book bans, and cases on intermediary liability.

In Brief

Sok Oudom, the owner and manager of Rithisen radio and website in Cambodia, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and slapped with a fine of 4,900 US dollars for “inciting villagers to cause chaos” when he livestreamed the resistance of a rural community against the plan of the military to take over land in a wildlife sanctuary. Sok Oudom was the third Cambodian journalist who was sentenced to prison in 2020.

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IFEX

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org