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.

FreedomFilmFest / The future is bleak, says ‘A Cambodian Spring’ director Chris Kelly

By: Lesly Lotha - Posted on: September 25, 2018 | Best of 2018

In the run up to its screening at this year’s FreedomFilmFest, Southeast Asia Globe speaks to the director of 2017 documentary A Cambodian Spring, which highlights the infamous land disputes of Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh and charts the return of prominent opposition politician Sam Rainsy

A Cambodian Spring will screen at this year’s FreedomFilmFest in Malaysia

Filmed over a period of six years between 2009 and 2015, A Cambodian Spring focuses on land conflict issues in Cambodia as well as the country’s volatile political state. We are introduced to individuals such as the Venerable Sovath, a monk threatened with “defrocking” by his peers for assuming the role of a citizen journalist and being too politically active. Then there is Tep Vanny, who starts out as a young leader of a community at risk of losing their land and goes on to become one of Cambodia’s most vocal activists.

A Cambodian Spring will be screened at this year’s FreedomFilmFest, taking place in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, and running between 29 September and 6 October. The Venerable Sovath will be a guest of honour at the festival.

Southeast Asia Globe speaks to director Chris Kelly to find out more about what went into the creation of this very raw and evocative documentary.

A Cambodian Spring director Chris Kelly

 The film had some striking and unforgettable scenes like the storming of the guards and the Venerable Loun Sovath being dragged away. Can you tell us about how you managed to obtain such close and intimate footage, and what the filming and editing process was like?
I spent a huge amount of time getting to know the Venerable Sovath and all the protestors at Boeung Kak lake, so I was able to get close because I had gained people’s trust. They knew who I was and what I was doing, so I was allowed to be around at those intimate and shocking moments.

However, the scene you mention about Venerable Sovath being dragged away was actually filmed by [him] using a hidden camera. Often, some of the most memorable scenes in the film were shot by the Venerable Sovath!

Did you ever feel like you yourself were in danger while making this film?
I never felt that I was a target of the authorities, or ever personally in danger of deliberate attacks from the police or military. However, the authorities would often respond to protestors by firing live rounds into the crowds, and as you see in the film, some people were shot dead right beside where I was filming. So, there was a danger that I could have been shot, but I did not feel like I was being deliberately targeted.

I think the situation was much more difficult for Khmer journalists covering the 2013 elections and the on-going land rights protests, as they were often targeted. Indeed, I think the situation in the country is very different now and I may have become a target: it certainly would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to make this film in the current political climate.

Land disputes continue to be a huge problem in Cambodia. In your opinion, is there much hope of this situation improving in the coming years?
Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of hope for the land rights situation improving. I can see that China is investing heavily in Cambodia – which in itself poses many unaddressed, long-term problems for the sovereignty of the country and for the Cambodian people – and there are fewer Western donors willing to hold the government to account when they do violate the rights of its citizens. There are fewer protections for those people living under the threat of forced eviction, combined with the rapidly growing demand for land both in the cities and in rural areas. It looks bleak to me.

The film follows rights activist Tep Vanny closely. She has just recently been released from prison after two years. What do you think about her imprisonment?I think her imprisonment was completely unjustified and 100% politically motivated, and I am delighted to see that she has been freed. I hope that she will be able to continue her activism.

The film had an incredible soundtrack, created by musician James Holden, which really added to the gravity of the documentary. How did this come about?
I wanted a soundtrack that would somehow compliment the crumbling landscapes of the film, and I am a huge fan of James Holden and the particular style of music that he makes. He has a very beautiful, decaying and melancholic sound. It is haunting and touching at the same time, and I was able to get in touch with him and show him the film and, as he liked it, he agreed to score the whole film. The soundtrack will be released on his record label later this year.

Do you have any future projects, and would you like to make any other documentaries on Cambodia, or possibly a follow up?
Yes I have a number of projects, both documentary and fiction that are set in or around Cambodia. I am working on an animated film about slavery in the Thai fishing industry at the moment. No plans for a follow up but we will see how things develop over the next few years!


The Freedom Film Network (FFN) is a not-for-profit body established to support and develop social documentary filmmaking within the context of freedom of expression and values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Malaysia.

The FreedomFilmFest (FFF) was conceptualised and established in 2003 by Pusat KOMAS, a human rights organisation, as a creative platform to promote human rights and social filmmaking. In 2017, the organising of the festival was passed on to the FFN.

‘A Cambodian Spring’ will be screened on the 29 September, 2018