Around sixty journalists and citizen journalists attended last April in Jakarta  to the 4M  event organized by CFI, the French media support media agency. Nothing2Hide was invited. On the agenda: workshops and debates on press freedom in south east Asia.

Just some background to understand how important this kind of event is: in Thailand, the editorial director of the online news magazine Prachatai, Chiranuch Premchaipoen, also known as Jew, has been accused of defaming the royal family because of some comments posted on the website.

During this lawsuit with multiple developments, Jew has faced an absurd sentence of 82 years in prison. The story ended quite well as the sentence was finally reduced to a 20,000 bahts fine (500 €) and a suspended eight-month prison term. Jew attended to the 4M conference in Jakarta and is now the head director of the Foundation for Community Educational Media.

Official workshops

Nothing2Hide’s workshop was about the bet practices to protect a news media website.

The first step was to make an exhaustive inventory of the potential threats:

After this introduction, Nothing2Hide has established a list of counter-measures that can be helpful against these threats:

This workshop was run by Jean-Marc Bourguignon in collaboration with the Philippine journalist Gemma Mendoza, head director of the news website Rappler. Those advices had a special resonance in this context since Rappler got his operating licence revoked by the Philippine government. This sanction took place after Rappler published a series of critical articles against president Duterte’s war on drugs, in which around 4,000 people have already died, most of them the victims of extra judicial killings.

Unofficial workshops

Besides our official workshop, we improvised an unofficial digital security breakfast, starting at at 7:30. During this digital security breakfast we distributed and installed encryption and circumvention tools (VPN accounts and Veracrypt) on the computers and smart phones of journalists from Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. Nothing2Hide hosts several VPN servers and we distribute on a regular basis credentials to journalists and human right defenders during trainings or events we attend to.

Journalists and citizen journalists

The 4M gathered both information professionals and non-professionals. News and information in South Asia and elsewhere – except for some narrow minded people believing that only professionals can information citizens – is by far, not done only by official journalists. Many citizens are committed to inform their peers as shown by contributions in community media. Several workshops were addressing the connection between these two different worlds :

At 4M, citizen journalist is not a swear word :

Partnerships

These three days were also the opportunity to meet several associations of independent journalists in order to start partnerships and do trainings. Many projects are in the starting blocks !