Predators of Press Freedom: Laos - Choummaly Sayasone
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||3 May 2011|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Predators of Press Freedom: Laos - Choummaly Sayasone, 3 May 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dc2b52c28.html [accessed 30 October 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Choummaly Sayasone, President, Laos
A former defence minister who has been president since 2006 and who was reelected as head of the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party in March 2011, Choummaly Sayasone continues to block the emergence of privately-owned media. He can count on the loyalty of those who run the state media, including the ruling party mouthpiece, the newspaper Paxaxon (People), which defines itself as "a revolutionary publication produced by and for the people." The activities of the president and top party leaders are always the lead stories in the state media, which are the only media permitted in Laos.
The president has issued orders that, when referring to him, journalists should only use reports put out by the official news agency, Khaosan Pathet Lao (The News of Laos). The authorities do not, however, censor the Internet. When thousands of members of the Hmong minority were forcibly repatriated from Thailand, the security forces prevented several foreign journalists from visiting the "camps" that were set up to receive them. The president has refused to pardon two Hmongs who have been in prison since 2003 for working as guides for two European reporters.