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SEAPA and Freedom House train regional journalists on covering ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Bangkok, 26 March 2010 - The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and Freedom House will organize a regional journalism workshop on ASEAN and Human Rights in Jakarta, Indonesia from 28-30 March 2010.

The three-day workshop, organized in cooperation with SEAPA member organizations in Jakarta - the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI) - runs on the same week that the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) holds its first official meetings, also in Jakarta.

For the first time since its establishment in 1967, ASEAN has put in place a regional body to promote and protect human rights.

SEAPA's workshop is aimed at encouraging and supporting the development of a pool of regional journalists who can cover, monitor, and scrutinize the work of the AICHR, and ASEAN's commitment to human rights in general in a deeper and sustainable manner. SEAPA believes that the vision for an ASEAN community that respects human rights could not be realized unless the people of the region are informed of activities, challenges, shortcomings, and promise of the AICHR.

About 25 journalists and editors from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand will attend the workshop. They will be trained by regional and internationals experts from media, academia, civil society, and ASEAN itself.

The three-day workshop runs in parallel to the first official meeting of AICHR to also underscore how the new human rights body should be transparent and accountable to the ASEAN people. The AICHR's work and mandate to effectively protect and promote human rights should be the subject of sustained and capable media attention.

While in Jakarta, the workshop will also allow time for the participants to cover the various civil society activities anticipated in line with marking the AICHR's first historic convening.

SEAPA is the only regional organization with the specific mandate of promoting and protecting press freedom in Southeast Asia. It is composed of the Jakarta-based Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI); the Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism; the Bangkok-based Thai Journalists Association; and the network's Kuala Lumpur-based associate member, the Centre for Independent Journalism.

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