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 support 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.

Time for change

By: Sacha Passi - Posted on: June 20, 2013 | Business

Can Cambodia’s opposition gain strength in the upcoming election while Sam Rainsy remains its figurehead?

By Sacha Passi

“Are you saying that Cambodia currently has democratic freedoms? I would question that,” said Laura Thornton, senior director for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Cambodia (NDI). “The new Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) can still participate in the elections and if they win the majority of seats in the National Assembly will be able to form a government and set its leadership path… but the leader of the opposition [Sam Rainsy] is in exile. He cannot stand in the election. His name has been removed from the voters list.”


Time for change
Illustration: Victor Blanco for SEA Globe
Known as an outspoken government critic, Rainsy’s political career began with Prince Ranariddh’s Funcinpec party in 1989 when he became a European representative for the prince while living in Paris. After returning to Cambodia in 1992 he was elected a member of parliament for Siem Reap province, followed by a post as minister of finance before he was expelled from the Funcinpec party after losing a vote of no confidence in 1994. On September 23, 2010, Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison on charges of spreading disinformation and falsifying maps – charges largely touted as politically motivated. The 64-year-old has lived in self-imposed exile since 2009.


With Cambodia’s national election due in July, Sam Rainsy’s physical absence from the election campaign is a stark reminder that the $3-billion Peace Plan brokered with the United Nations in 1991 to assist a transitional administration and establish democracy, remains a work in progress.

In November 2012 the National Election Committee (NEC) essentially blocked the main opposition leader’s bid for office in the July 28 vote when Sam Rainsy was removed from the electoral list on the grounds that he is a convicted criminal (see box, above). Despite Sam Rainsy vowing to return to the country for the election, and Prime Minister Hun Sen – leader of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) – stating that Sam Rainsy is free to return at any time if he is prepared to answer to Cambodian law, the fact that Rainsy faces at least a decade in prison on his return has kept him away.

“Sam Rainsy’s name has resonance for Cambodians and Cambodians in diaspora who were inspired by his courageous move from Funcinpec, and who have respect for his continual speaking out against human rights abuses in Cambodia,” said Trude Jacobsen, assistant director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University. “The majority of these [people]  however, are not part of the existing [electoral] system in Cambodia.”

In the lead up to the polls, certain issues, such as the independence of the NEC, equal access to media for political parties, and the conflict of interest in the voter registration process being carried out by elected commune councils, cannot be ignored. But neither can the question of whether CNRP leader Sam Rainsy still has the weight of a man once revered for his courage in fighting against the status quo, or whether he is blowing smoke from afar for the sake of political rhetoric.

Hun Sen has focused his electoral campaign largely on the economy, growth and the occasional scare tactic, such as a warning in April that an election loss for the CPP could incite a civil war if Sam Rainsy, as promised, tried to convict unnamed members of the government over their alleged roles in the Khmer Rouge regime. However, Sam Rainsy also hasn’t shied away from extravagant promises in the search for votes.

The leader of the strongest opposition party – a merger between the Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party – recently vowed a government led by the CNRP would “stop predatory corruption, which will allow it to raise the minimum salary for civil servants, police and soldiers to one million riel ($250) a month” – more than four times the current minimum monthly wage of $61. Furthermore, by stopping corruption the CNRP “will also improve the education system for your children and medical care for your families”.

They are claims, Jacobsen said, that are not likely in the foreseeable future. “It is not realistic to think that corruption can be eliminated in the next generation, let alone five years,” she said. “If nothing else, where is the additional money going to come from? It’s not as if people pay taxes from which revenue can be generated.”

There is no question Sam Rainsy has provided a voice for the Cambodian diaspora, but whether he offers the people a realistic alternative is open to interpretation.

“I cannot see that the CNRP will benefit from Sam Rainsy leading it under the current circumstances, despite my respect for the man and his mission,” said Jacobsen. “Sam Rainsy is in exile and his name removed from the NEC list. There is no way to affect change without engaging the system.”




Also view:

“Hearts and minds” – Is Cambodia’s political environment encouraging a muted voter generation or are they happily disengaged?

“Sibling rivalry” – After five years sitting on the sidelines of Thai politics, Yaowapa Wongsawat could soon find herself appointed Thailand’s next prime minister

“Rules of the game” – Despite being brought into the fold of Vietnam’s high-ranking officials to help weed out corruption, Nguyen Ba Thanh is no stranger to underhand dealings