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

  • More thought-provoking stories that inspire
  • Independent, free and member-supported
  • Vote for, pitch and commission stories
  • Member engagement with our journalists

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.

Talking democracy with a Laotian dissident

By: David Hutt - Posted on: January 27, 2016 | Current Affairs

A political reshuffle has taken place in communist Laos. Here, a dissident speaks out about the country’s regime and his hopes for democracy

The weather was mild in Vientiane on October 26, 1999. The rainy season was coming to an end and, as crowds gathered along the banks of the Mekong River in Laos’ capital for the annual boat race, the organisers and supporters of the Lao Student Movement for Democracy were amassing outside the presidential palace, a stone’s throw from the water.

laos, democracy
The Presidential Palace, Vientiane, scene of democracy protests in 1999. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“I don’t know exactly how many people we had, but we told people to wear a certain colour of wristband to show their support,” a spokesman for the pro-democracy group, who goes by the nom de guerre Soumaly told Southeast Asia Globe. “We saw thousands wearing those wristbands that day.”

They had planned to open a large banner bearing the words ‘Freedom for Laos’ in front of the presidential palace and then march across Vientiane. However, as soon as the sign was opened, the police moved in. The protest was stopped, most of the demonstrators fled and a handful of the organisers went into hiding in Thailand.

At least 100 demonstrators, however, were arrested. It is alleged that some were tortured and left without proper medical treatment or legal counsel.

Although the Lao Student Movement for Democracy’s 1999 protest ultimately failed before it even got off the ground, Soumaly believes it was still important. Here he speaks to Southeast Asia Globe about the demonstrations, his thoughts on Laotian politics and, in light of the recent Lao Communist Party congress, how democratic change could take place.

What were the effects of the 1999 protests and have there been similar protests since?
We may not have succeeded with our initial goals, but we believe that we succeeded in telling the world that the current regime in Laos is inhumane and doesn’t respect human rights and oppresses its own people. There were a few protests after our movement that I know of and they also failed, but since I have not been involved with the planning I do not have information firsthand.

How many people were arrested during the protests and are they still in prison?
We believe that about 150 people were arrested that day, and in the aftermath, and we still don’t know how many remain in prison because in our organisation we don’t know each other’s names, only on a need-to-know basis.

Do you think that most Laotian people support your efforts for change?
Absolutely, but Laotian people cannot freely express themselves without fear of persecution or being made disappear by the regime like [in the case of development worker] Sombath Somphone.

Do you think that democratic change could come from the government?
There will never be real change as long as a single authoritarian political party governs Laos. The new blood that will come to replace the old guard are just the children or family members of these old farts.

So must it come from pressure from the people – in other words, change from below?
Absolutely, it is pressure from Laotian people and the world – you can see on social media that these days young people inside Laos and abroad are taking risks by starting to speak up, by making and posting videos critical of the oppressive regime and advocating for the abolishment of the current system – you can easily find these people yourself. Some show their faces and don’t fear the regime.