The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

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To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Cambodian National Police accuse top tycoon of role in large scale environmental crime

By: Euan Black - Posted on: May 17, 2017 | Cambodia

On Tuesday evening, police released a damning report supporting claims that the business magnate Kith Meng’s firms have been using a hydropower dam project as a front for illegal logging

A photograph of severe deforestation in Prey Lang Forest, Cambodia. According to satellite data released by Global Forest Watch in 2015, since 2001, the Southeast Asian nation has lost over 1.75m hectares of forest, with its deforestation rate accelerating faster than any other country in the world. Photo supplied
A photograph of severe deforestation in Prey Lang Forest, Cambodia. According to satellite data released by Global Forest Watch in 2015, since 2001, the Southeast Asian nation has lost over 1.75m hectares of forest, with its deforestation rate accelerating faster than any other country in the world. Photo supplied

Cambodia’s National Police made a shock move on Tuesday by accusing one of the country’s most powerful businessmen of involvement in large-scale illegal logging, though it remains unclear if they intend to take any legal action in the case.

National Police posted a report on their website detailing how a subsidiary of Kith Meng’s Royal Group, Ang & Associates Lawyers, were using a licence entitling them to clear 36,000 hectares of forest for the reservoir of the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam to launder illegal timber felled outside the concession boundaries.

According to the report, “forest destruction in Sesan district and timber smuggling for sale in Vietnam is happening in the name of the company clearing the Lower Sesan II reservoir, which belongs to Oknha Kith Meng, but authorities ignore and overlook it and do not prevent it”.

The logging claims, which follow on years of reports from journalists, environmental groups and local officials about Sesan II being used as a timber laundry, came as no surprise to Marcus Hardtke, an expert on forest issues with over 20 years’ experience working in Cambodia.

“Every major dam project has been a front for massive illegal logging and timber laundering over the last years”, with state institutions routinely fighting over “who gets a larger piece of the loot”, he wrote in an email. “It appears the National Police is ‘negotiating’ to get a larger share of the profits”.

Dubbed “Mr Rough Stuff” in a cable from the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Kith Meng presides over a vast business network that spans multiple industries and as the head of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce has often joined Prime Minister Hun Sen on trips abroad.

Given Meng’s connections, the National Police’s decision to call out Kith Meng’s illegal operation was “unusual”, Hardtke said. “Targeting a large-scale Hun Sen crony operation is rather unusual. But it is already late in the game; perhaps the Sesan illegal logging scheme is coming to an end anyway.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s supposed ban on all timber exports handed down in January 2016 has had little if any impact on the ground, with recent Vietnamese customs data revealing a surge in exports that is comparable with historically high levels.

The customs data came days after a report by the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency revealed how Vietnamese traders, backed by the Gia Lai provincial government, “pay millions of dollars in bribes to Cambodian officials to open up logging areas and smuggling routes in Cambodia”.

Over the course of 55 days between early December 2016 and January 2017, approximately 110,000 cubic metres of logs were exported from the O’Tabok Community Protected Area in Ratanakiri province across an “unofficial crossing with no checkpoint” to Vietnam, the report said. After the report was released, the government announced that it was already investigating the allegations.

National Police have yet to explain how they plan to address the allegations against Kith Meng, or why they just decided to publicly bring the illicit operation to light.

Kirth Chantharith, the National Police spokesman, could not be reached on Wednesday; Kith Meng said he was in a meeting before hanging up; and Khieu Sopheak, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said he “didn’t have that information” when asked about the report.

Hardtke said he doubted there would be any “legal follow-up from this report”.

“Perhaps a new agreement will be reached behind closed doors.”