Formerly known as South East Asia Media Legal Defence Initiative (SEAMLDI), we are a regional non-governmental organization that comprises of lawyers, journalists and media activists that has a focus on the defence of the media and the promotion of freedom of expression within the Southeast Asia region. We aim to provide legal assistance to journalists and news media organizations, support training in media law and promote the exchange of information, litigation tools and strategies for lawyers working on media freedom cases.
The idea of a network of lawyers, journalists and media activists under one common umbrella was first mooted at a conference in Hong Kong in May 2007. Since then, the shape and personality of the Network has grown tremendously with various additions of lawyers, journalists and media activists from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Timor Leste and Hong Kong. Support from various generous organisations have made it possible for trainings, court observations and funding of important legal cases to various parties in the past two years.
The setting up of MD-SEA could not have come at a better time. In recent times alone, we have seen extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, the usage of archaic and punitive laws to stifle the freedom of expression, discussions of religious and ethnic matters and exposure of corruption and the lack of accountability in Malaysia and Singapore, the silencing of journalists in matters relating to the monarchy in Thailand and the jailing of lawyers in Vietnam. This has resulted in a clarion call for the setting up of the MD-SEA as a collaborative and united network against any form of oppression and tyranny.
The fact also remains that the playing ground is often unfair and imbalanced insofar as media reporting in Southeast Asia is concerned. Alternative media has often found itself against unnecessary heavy handed government interference resulting in the citizens of Southeast Asia have limited and unequal access to alternative views, discourse and information.
The availability of media legal defense is critical in ensuring that not only freedom of expression is protected by the very basic principles of democracy
MD-SEA is committed in providing support in its defence of the media and freedom of expression. he support provided is determined by the specific circumstances of each case or project and may include among others:
a) Paying legal fees
b) Helping to access free legal advice
c) Taking on cases in international tribunals and supervisory bodies
d) Supporting the independent observation of court proceedings
e) Supporting strategic litigation
f) Providing opportunities for training in media law and litigation
g) Supporting the exchange of information and experience among media lawyers
For further information please contact:
Mr H R Dipendra
c/o 48-2 , Jalan Medan Setia 2
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: 6013 366 1222
Fax: 603 2095 7505