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Freedom of speech takes a drubbing in Southeast Asia

Backsliding by Myanmar, media crackdowns elsewhere alarm local, global critics

Reporters hold a protest on June 30 calling on the Myanmar government and military authorities to release reporters who were arrested in Yangon.   © Reuters

YANGON/BANGKOK -- Southeast Asia has, in recent decades, enjoyed increasing democratization along with economic growth. But there has been significant backsliding of late on free speech rights in the region.

Two reporters working for the Reuters news agency have been arrested in Myanmar while covering the Rohingya refugee crisis. In Cambodia, one radio network's bureau and a newspaper have been shut down. Authorities in Singapore and Thailand are also tightening the screws on media.

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