Several groups have issued a joint statement asking the Lao government to repeal a recent order for provinces to keep records of official social media channels and to enforce social media registration. The statement also called for an end of an online monitoring special task force aimed at controlling the spread of “fake news” concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lao blogger Houayheuang Xayabouly, known by her nickname Mouay, has been detained since 2019 and is serving a 5-year prison sentence for criticizing the government’s response to a flooding disaster.
Laotian blogger Muay Littlepig was sentenced to five years in prison for criticising the government’s poor response to a flooding disaster.
Freedom of expression in Laos slid further down in 2014 with the adoption of a series of measures aimed at tightening control over the media or curbing growing criticism over social media against the ruling party and the government.
On the second anniversary of the enforced disappearance of prominent Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, regional and international organisations condemn the government’s ongoing refusal to provide any information regarding Sombath’s fate or whereabouts.
Media restrictions in Laos are part of a wider pattern of suppression of information, lack of transparency in business dealings, prevention of protests and cultural and religious oversight by the government and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.
The fate of prominent social activist Sombath Somphone, who was apprehended at a police checkpoint in Vientiane one year ago, is yet to be disclosed by members of the government of Laos, whose investigation into his enforced disappearance was inadequate.
15 December 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of prominent activist and civil society leader Sombath Somphone. Despite the Lao Government’s pledge to “thoroughly and seriously” investigate the case, the authorities’ probe has been inadequate and unproductive.
Authorities in Laos have failed to seriously investigate or credibly explain the enforced disappearance six months ago of a leading social activist, Sombath Somphone.
Circumstances surrounding the disappearance of activist Sombath Somphone indicate that Lao authorities took him into custody, raising concerns for his safety.
The Laos director of a Swiss non-profit organisation was ordered to leave the country within 48 hours after she wrote a letter in which she commented on the government’s “strategy of imposing silence” because of constraints on media freedom, and the rule of law.
“Talk of the News” was the only live-broadcast program that enabled the public to phone in and comment on current news and voice their problems.