POSTS BY Lasse Schuldt

Hello – and Goodbye! How Royal Powerplay aborted Malaysia’s ICC Membership

On 5 April 2019, the United States revoked the visa of the ICC chief prosecutor because of her attempts to investigate allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by American forces. On the same day, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that his country was withdrawing its signature from the Rome Statute, just one month after having signed it. Did the Malaysian drama just coincide with Washington’s move? The most likely answer is yes. Rather, it reflects long-existing tensions between Malaysia’s federal government and the country’s royalty.

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A Ministry of Truth in Singapore? Reflections on the Anti-Fake News Bill

On 1 April, the government of Singapore introduced the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill. Often referred to as the Singaporean anti-fake news law, it is expected to be enacted with a few changes in the coming weeks or months. A closer look at the bill’s context, its most powerful elements and its possible regional impact as a model for legislation in other countries reveals that it is most likely to have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

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A Look behind the Fake News Laws of Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, attempts to regulate the fake news phenomenon can be broadly categorized, on the one hand, in cases where fake news laws are conceived at least also as the government’s weapon to silence critics and dissenters, and on the other hand, cases where the discourse is lead more open-ended. Under the first category, Malaysia springs to mind, Cambodia and Vietnam possibly too. Thailand is a somewhat mixed case. Much more open-ended are the fake news discourses in Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

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Bye bye, ICC! The Philippines’ farewell put into perspective

On 14 March 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Philippines will withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC, the Court) “effective immediately.” Duterte’s intention to reject the ICC’s jurisdiction exemplifies the Court’s fragile foothold across Southeast Asia. Cambodia and the Philippines have been the only two ICC members among the ten ASEAN countries. Thailand signed the Statute in 2000, but not yet proceeded to ratification. An explanation of this Southeast Asian hesitation may be found in distinct attitudes and principles within and between the ASEAN countries.

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