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.

Politics / For Timor-Leste, a promise of progress

By: Sophie Raynor - Posted on: June 5, 2018 | Best of 2018

As the dust settles on Timor-Leste’s third election in a year, an unprecedented three-party coalition grapples with internal fissures and an uncertain future ahead

Xanana Gusmão and his National Council for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party led the coalition, Change for Progress Alliance, to victory in last month’s elections Photo: Antonio Dasiparu / EPA-EFE

Timor-Leste’s Court of Appeal has this week handed down the result of the country’s 12 May parliamentary election, confirming a count that delivered an unusual outright victory to the coalition Change for Progress Alliance, or AMP.

It’s the next step in a protracted process that saw the country survive nine months of political gridlock and an unprecedented dissolved parliament. But administrative hurdles continue to keep a new government out of reach.

The election result remains unofficial until it is published in the country’s national gazette, the Jornal da República, and once it is, parliament has 15 days to have its first sitting. National TV network TVTL announced yesterday that the sitting would take place on 12 June.

The delay gives the coalition time to negotiate its ministries and grapple with the inherent ideological divisions of its parties – and it gives Dili the space to speculate on the identity of the new prime minister.

While international media predicts a return to power for former President and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, whose National Council for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party led the victorious coalition, rumours swirl that Gusmão will instead anoint former President and coalition senior Taur Matan Ruak, who, like Gusmão, fought in the country’s independence struggle.

Ruak’s People’s Liberation Party is a grassroots development group with a focus on governmental transparency, placing it firmly at odds with the big-spending CNRT. The party’s last government presided over millions of dollars of poorly considered infrastructure megaproject, shadowed by a corruption scandal that led to then-Finance Minister Emilia Pires’ resignation.

Supporters of the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party cheer during a campaign rally in Dili, April 2012 Photo: Antonio Dasiparu / EPA-EFE

Bec Strating, a Southeast Asia politics and international relations lecturer and researcher at Australia’s LaTrobe University, points to incendiary speeches Ruak has given against CNRT’s spending as evidence of fissures between the coalition’s two major players.

“Coalitions can be profoundly unstable, particularly when you’re talking about a small country with buttloads of resources, a $16 billion petroleum fund.” she says. “There isn’t a strong sense of party identification; it’s about the people involved. They can shift alliances among themselves with whatever suits their interests. There’s a false sense of order that could come crashing down.”

The outright victory secured by AMP in last month’s election is unusual in Timor-Leste’s proportional voting system, and represents a clear endorsement of the coalition. May’s unprecedented early election followed nine months of political gridlock after a minority government led by the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) failed to gain parliamentary support for its program.

The World Bank reports that restricted government spending during the deadlock contracted GDP by 1.8%.

But CNRT’s vote fell at last July’s election, and Dr Strating cautions against conflating constituents’ endorsement of the coalition, whose majority will see government activities resume without delicate minority-government negotiation with Gusmão’s personal interests.

If Gusmão does return as prime minister, a plan to develop the lucrative untapped oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea will certainly be a government priority.

Timor-Leste and Australia reached an historic agreement on their shared maritime boundary in March this year, with Gusmão negotiating on Timor-Leste’s behalf. He’s adamant that resources from the Greater Sunrise basin will be piped to Timor-Leste for processing, but the proposal has limited support and developers believe the pipeline is too risky due to the deep Timor Trough it must cross.

“No independent advice says the pipeline is a good idea,” says Dr Strating. “On its face it’s an incredibly risky strategy that makes me wonder if Gusmão has something else to implement. Whether he’s trying to negotiate with China… who knows what he’s got planned.”

The coalition’s unity will be key to its success, she says.

The third coalition member, newcomer Khunto, has connections with unemployed youth and martial arts groups, and is unlikely to hold significant power in the crowded marriage.

A political impasse, a rerun election and a maritime boundary battle have distracted Timor-Leste temporarily from serious thought about its future. Now, as bureaucracy turns its wheels, serious questions stand for the new government of Asia’s youngest nation, which still bears the scars of a two-decades-long struggle for independence and where 41 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. Will AMP govern for the progress it promised?