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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.

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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.

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Thailand / Multiple arrests made as pro-democracy protestors call for 2018 election

By: George Styllis - Posted on: May 22, 2018 | Current Affairs

A passionate pro-democracy protest in Bangkok ended with the arrest of 14 activists railing against four years of military dictatorship

Thai police monitor the Bangkok demonstrations marking four years since the junta claimed power Photo: George Styllis

A protest to mark four years of dissatisfaction with Thailand’s military government came to an end when Bangkok police arrested the leaders of the demonstration, who willingly gave themselves up for breaking the law on political protest following an impassioned speech to their supporters.

Several hundred people gathered Tuesday evening at Thammasat University to march to the prime minister’s office at Government House and demand the national election be held in November rather than the current plan for February.

The protest marked four years since the military swept to power and put an end to months of political deadlock and street protests aimed at ousting then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Amid a wave of corruption scandals, human rights abuses and broken promises to hold elections and restore democracy sooner, people have become increasingly frustrated.

A repressive constitution drafted by the military and promulgated 13 months ago that is weighted in favour of the military and which limits the power elected politicians can exercise in parliament has compounded indignation – while the ban on political gatherings of five or more people has prevented new parties from campaigning in the run-up to the vote.

Demonstrators take to the streets of Bangkok four years after the Thai junta took power Photo: George Styllis

Hundreds of protesters holding banners and hand fans with the prime minister depicted as Pinocchio set off from Thammasat University but were blocked by police barricades from reaching Government House. Many remained at the university grounds, while others demonstrated near the United Nations building, within sight of Government House.

Protest leader Rangsiman Rome told Southeast Asia Globe the march was organised to vent anger over the army’s seeming unwillingness to rescind power – but that it was also an opportunity to expose the military’s vulnerabilities.

“The military is weak at the moment, so that’s why we feel the movement will have a stronger impact than before,” Rangsiman said, citing allegations of corruption and economic mismanagement levelled at the government.

Police declared Government House off limits to protesters and warned them not to defy a junta ban on public gatherings.

Unable to proceed to Government House and vastly outnumbered by some 3,000 police officers, the leaders decided to give up and hand themselves over to authorities.

“We have tried everything. But in the end, we might not be able to bring change and return to democracy,” announced Rangsiman, one of fourteen arrested, before he surrendered at the university. “For four years, no one has ever challenged and fought for rights and liberties like how it unfolded today. We have done everything. We have tried everything.”

At the protest near Government House, a ring of security forces encircled four of the demonstration leaders, who had faced off with police, before bundling them into a police van. Seven of the leaders who were initially arrested were separated and taken to two different police stations.

Detained leaders of the Bangkok demonstrations marking four years since the Thai junta took power Photo: George Styllis

Among those arrested were Nuttaa “Bow” Mahattana, Chonticha Jaengrew, Arnon Nampha and Ekachai Hongkangwan, who were put in one van; and Rangsiman Rome, Sirawith Seritiwat and Piyarat Chongthep, who were put in another.

Tensions dissipated as demonstrators packed up their belongings and dispersed.

“We were outnumbered,” said one demonstrator who earlier had shouted profanities at the police. He’d expected 10,000 demonstrators today, and was bitterly disappointed that only around 500 turned up.

“The army is trying to enslave people, including me, because of their foolishness in handling the economy,” he said.

Thammasat student Jah Apiradee, who was at the campus but not demonstrating, said her parents were happy when the military seized power because there was much turmoil in the seven months leading up to the coup. But controversial decisions amid a lacklustre economy have led to a change of mind for her and her parents.

“My mum asks why does the government have to spend millions on submarines when the economy is bad?” Jah said, referring to a government decision to buy three costly submarines from China.

Appearing unrattled by the pro-democracy stirrings, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday the election is not going to be sooner than 2019.

“I’ve said already that it will be according to my steps and that is early 2019 and no sooner,” he said, according to Reuters. “These people have shown their point of view many times and we have taken onboard what they’ve said within our capacity.”

This article was updated on 23 May to state that the number of arrested leaders ended up as 14, instead of seven as was initially reported.