New Defence Fund for South and Southeast Asia

New Defence Fund for South and Southeast Asia

The Media Legal Defence Initiative has announced the launch of a major new legal defence fund for bloggers and online media in South and Southeast Asia.

Throughout the region, bloggers and online media are increasingly subjected to legal threats and abusive lawsuits. Claims are launched against them for libel and they are threatened with prosecution for offences such as undermining public order and national security, or breaching official secrets acts, with the threat of prison or bankruptcy hanging over their heads as a result.

To counter this threat, MLDI will help bloggers and online media pay for legal representation, offer advice and legal resources to lawyers, and take on some important legal test cases.

“Government officials and major corporations throughout Asia abuse the law to silence their critics. Bloggers and small online media are particularly vulnerable to such threats because they lack the means to fight back,” said Peter Noorlander, MLDI’s CEO. “Through this defence fund, we will empower them to resist these claims and assert their rights. We invite any blogger or online media who has received legal threats to contact us.”

MLDI gratefully acknowledges the support of Hivos and the Digital Defenders Partnership for this defence fund.

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