Cambodia: Prime Minister shuts down independent media outlet

Law enforcement and ministry officials visited the offices of Voice of Democracy (VOD) on the morning of February 13 ordering journalists to stop publishing immediately. Sen instructed the Ministry of Information to cancel the outlet’s publishing and broadcasting licences, revoking its right to continue radio and online news services. Since the decision, VOD’s online Khmer and English services have been blocked by several internet service providers throughout the country.

On February 9, VOD released an article in Khmer that claimed Hun Sen’s son, Lieutenant General Hun Manet, had signed a donation of USD 100,000 for earthquake relief in Türkiye under his father’s name. Hun Manet, the head of Cambodia’s military, disputed the claim, and urged the outlet via social media to provide sources for their article. On February 11, Sen demanded a public apology from the outlet within 72 hours, later shortening the deadline to 10 am on February 13. Despite receiving an official, apologetic letter from the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media, VOD’s parent company, Sen ordered the revocation of the licence.

The decision has been condemned by media rights and civil society organisations, who denounced the arbitrary and likely politically motivated closure of VOD. In a group statement, press freedom advocates identified how existing measures to remove or alter disputed publications already exist in Cambodia’s Press Law, and urged the government to speak out against harmful and sexist language directed towards the author of the article.

The Cambodian government has previously targeted critical and independent news outlets ahead of the 2018 election, including the shuttering of Cambodia Daily in 2017, and the coerced 2018 sale of the Phnom Penh Post to a business associate of Hun Sen.
The CamboJA said: “No journalist should ever be attacked as a result of their work or identity. We hope the government acknowledges the essential role of VOD and its journalists, along with the remaining independent media outlets in the country, and their right to do their work in accordance with the law and without fear of intimidation and harassment”

The IFJ said: “Hun Sen’s order to shutdown VOD represents an serious misuse of power and poses a severe threat to press freedom in Cambodia. The IFJ urges the Cambodian government to reverse its decision to shutter VOD and ensure the outlet is able to continue to produce independent and critical journalism without fear of reprisal.”

IFJ Reports

Jaffna Cultural Center dedicated to the people

The iconic Jaffna Cultural Center (JCC), which was built with grant assistance of Government of India (GOI), was dedicated to the people on 11 February 2023 at a colourful event in the gracious presence of President of Sri Lanka H.E Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying and Information & Broadcasting, GOI Dr. L. Murugan, High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay, Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Vidura Wickramanayake, Minister for Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Hon. Kadar Masthan, Minister of State for Rural Economy, several Parliamentarians and dignitaries from various walks of life.

India: Maharashtra journalist targeted in hit and run


Maharashtra-based journalist Shashikant Warishe has been killed by a local realty broker hours after releasing a report alleging the broker had engaged in illegal land grabbing and was connected to senior Indian politicians. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns this brutal killing of a journalist for their reporting and urges the authorities to bring all perpetrators to swift justice.



The IFJ Regional Fact Checking Forum will bring together fact-checkers and fact-checking experts from Asia to discuss the status and challenges of fact-checking in the region. This forum will see speakers from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka sharing country-specific approaches, experiences and lessons learnt in fact checking and how journalism can play a role to promote this. The discussion aims to provide opportunities for participants from other nations to share their experiences and initiatives. The forum will outline best practices in fact checking and recommendations for a way forward to combat misinformation effectively.

“Plight of Professional Journalism in Sri Lanka”-UTU project Press Conference

Under the guidance and support of the IFJ-International Federation of journalists, FMETU conducted a Union to Union project with the participation of more than 350 journalists around the country. It was held in different methods such as introducing a google form to collect data on the journalists and create a Database, conducting a workshop for young journalists about Mobile journalism and they made 15 videos that reviewed the Professionalism and the rights of journalists through these videos. On the 1st of December 2022, a press conference was held at the Rainbow Institute to release the said report to the media.

“Orange the world: Unite to end violence against women!”

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma, and shame surrounding it.

In general terms, it manifests itself in physical, sexual, and psychological forms, encompassing: intimate partner violence (battering, psychological abuse, marital rape, femicide); sexual violence and harassment (rape, forced sexual acts, unwanted sexual advances, child sexual abuse, forced marriage, street harassment, stalking, cyber- harassment); human trafficking (slavery, sexual exploitation); female genital mutilation; and child marriage.

To further clarify, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women issued by the UN General Assembly in 1993, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

While gender-based violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, some women and girls are particularly vulnerable – for instance, young girls and older women, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, migrants and refugees, indigenous women and ethnic minorities, or women and girls living with HIV and disabilities, and those living through humanitarian crises.

In support of a global campaign and to contribute locally to end Gender Based Violence in Sri Lanka, the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has decided to host a roundtable discussion to discuss Gender and Media issues in Sri Lanka. The meeting will be held on 1st December 2022, at Gallery Cafe with participation by female editors, members of the parliamentary women’s caucus, and representatives of the media organizations in Sri Lanka.

Plight of Professional Journalists in Sri Lanka revealed


The General Secretary of the Federation of Media Workers Trade Unions Mr. Dharmasiri Lankapeli and the Deputy General Secretary Mrs. Indira Navagamuwa held a discussion with the Minister of Labor and Foreign Employment Mr. Manusha Nanayakkara on November 22, 2022, at the Ministry, which revealed the sad working conditions of professional journalists in Sri Lanka.

The Federation of Media Employees Unions explained in this discussion that journalism is the only profession that does not have the basic professional rights that the majority of professional journalists in Sri Lanka should have.

A report compiled a unique exploration of the professional status of journalists and the challenges faced by the media industry by the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions The matter was clarified to the minister.

The IFJ-Union to Union (UTU) Global Union program with the guidance and support of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) organized this program.

The Minister also agreed to hold a broad discussion on the professional issues faced by journalists and the challenges faced by the media industry on December 13 with a large representation of journalists.


Rishi Sunak to become UK’s first British Asian prime minister

“The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.
That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.
I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country”.

Rishi is a British politician who has been Leader of the Conservative Party since 24 October 2022. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2020 to 2022 and Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2019 to 2020.He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond (Yorks) since 2015.
Sunak was born in Southampton to parents of Punjabi Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa in the 1960s.He was educated at Winchester College, read philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at Lincoln College, Oxford, and gained an MBA from Stanford University in California as a Fulbright Scholar.
Sunak was elected to the House of Commons for Richmond in North Yorkshire at the 2015 general election, succeeding William Hague. Sunak supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum on EU membership. He was appointed to Theresa May’s second government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government in the 2018 reshuffle. He voted three times in favour of May’s Brexit withdrawal agreement.
After May resigned, Sunak supported Boris Johnson’s campaign to become Conservative leader. After Johnson was elected and appointed Prime Minister, he appointed Sunak as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Sunak replaced Sajid Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer after his resignation in the February 2020 cabinet reshuffle.
As Chancellor, Sunak was prominent in the government’s financial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, including the Coronavirus Job Retention and Eat Out to Help Out schemes. He resigned as chancellor on 5 July 2022, citing his economic policy differences with Johnson in his resignation letter. Sunak’s resignation, along with the resignation of Javid as Health Secretary, led to Johnson’s resignation amid a government crisis.
In July 2022, he stood in the Conservative party leadership election to replace Johnson,and lost the members’ vote to Liz Truss.Following Truss’s resignation amid a government crisis, Sunak won the October 2022 Conservative Party leadership election.

Media Oligarchy and Shaping NEWS

Concentrated media power has been a major (in some ways dominant) force behind the subversion of democratic politics in the United States, a force driven by commercialized images and narratives, celebrity and sports spectacles, profit-making, and mostly conservative opinion—all resulting in a narrowing of the public sphere.
Media capacity to shape popular consciousness—or forge ideological hegemony—turns on both structure and content of communications transmitted across the terrain. In advanced state-capitalist society, and especially the United States, media culture appears as the dominant and in many ways all-consuming mode of communication.
Here we refer to more than just information since the media reproduces images, stories, myths, and spectacles that, in diverse ways, help sustain existing institutions, practices, and values. In this complex modality, corporate media forms a uniquely thriving propaganda system, reaching into every corner of society with high levels of technological sophistication, material resources, and ideological legitimation.

Understanding media oligarchy
To understand contemporary Indonesia one must understand how media oligarchy works here. Media oligarchy shapes the news the public consume every day. News have become increasingly biased and partisans. The most obvious examples are news coverage on the presidential election in 2014. Media were between the two rival camps.
Recent trends have involved oligopolistic ownership, deregulation, expansion of advertising, and rightward shift in political content. Expanded corporate control—over film, TV, cable, radio, print journalism, the Internet—has meant a steady decline of citizenship coinciding with the spread of political alienation discussed elsewhere in this book.
As media culture becomes more integral to all realms of American public life, its effects have been profoundly depoliticizing and thus undemocratic.
A vibrant, democratized communications system would of course impose relatively few limits to political discourse, especially on issues (finance, jobs, the environmental threats, warfare) of urgent importance to public welfare. Media culture largely defines how crucial issues are framed, valorized, and contextualized, what is emphasized, what is trivialized, and what is ignored or dismissed altogether. It establishes the range of views permitted and who is allowed to express those views. While media and popular culture appear open and diversified, in fact those who manage this trillion-dollar empire devote abundant time and resources to governing the flow of information.
However, the decline in trust in mainstream media has not been followed by growth of credible alternative media. Consequently, most people fall victim to hoaxes. Hoaxes and fake news become easily viral because people tend to seek information that would affirm their own beliefs. Some groups see this as an opportunity to gain money from producing fake news.
To make it worse, the internet and social media have also empowered media oligarchs. Media owners are more aggressive in buying competitors to expand their media business, integrating with other businesses, and investing in digital media and communication infrastructure.
Some media owners also enter the political arena by forming parties and placing their cadres in governmental positions. Similar to the political realm, media companies increasingly look like a dynasty: slowly inherited to family members.

Indira Priyadarshini Nawagamuwa

Stop gender-based violence in the media

Violence and harassment against women journalists can occur everywhere: in newsrooms, in relation to their sources, at home, on the way home, online. Violence and harassment have devastating implications for the targeted journalist as her well-being, her work, her private life and eventually press freedom are affected.

To mark 25 November, The International day for the elimination of violence against women and girls, the IFJ is calling on all its unions to campaign for the full ratification by their government of ILO Convention 190. Read the testimonies of IFJ Gender Council members in Canada, Cyprus, Greece, Peru and Portugal on why ratification of the Convention is key for women journalists.
he International Labour Organization (ILO) passed on 10 June 2019 a new Convention – ILO C190 to end violence and harassment in the world of work, as well as a recommendation, 206.

We need this convention and its recommendation to be ratified by governments across the world.
Why? Because it can save journalists’ and citizens’ lives by outlawing harassment and violence in the world of work and turn workplaces into violence-free zones.

Journalism can be a dangerous profession. In order to cover breaking stories, journalists put themselves in contexts of war, conflict and natural disasters. In order to report on corruption, human rights abuses and political chicanery, journalists often incur the wrath of the most powerful in society.

Women journalists who find themselves in such situations are often the specific focus of violence. According to IFJ statistics, almost 65% of women media workers have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse in relation to their work. This is a threat to freedom of expression and media freedom.
Abuse can come from all directions: a senior-editor who uses his position to intimidate a young female journalist; a female reporter reporting outside being groped or receiving sexist comments or being physically assaulted by her interviewee or bystanders.

ILO C190 can bring about change. It changes female journalists’ lives by outlawing violence in the world of work and making it a health and safety issue media employers have to respond to.

Today, ask your government to ratify the convention and make a change in your newsroom.

Five things to know about ILO Convention 190 on harassment and violence in the world of work

  • Once it’s ratified by your government it becomes legally binding
  •  It protects all media workers irrespective of their status (freelance, interns, part-time)
  •  It makes violence and harassment a health and safety issue. Media employers will need to include violence and harassment when managing occupational health and safety issues.
  •  It covers gender-based violence, including: sexual harassment, bullying,
    stalking, online harassment and all other forms of violence.
  •  It includes domestic violence because it can have a big impact on your mental health and performance at work.

Here’s what your union can do NOW:

Inform your members about violence and harassment in the workplace.
Include language on ending violence and harassment at work in collective bargaining agreements, using C190 and its recommendation R206 as a basis.
Work with media to make sure that health and safety policies include violence and harassment, and more specifically gender-based violence.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Do you have questions? Call or visit us.

+(94) 773 641 111

#30, Amarasekara Mawatha, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka.


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