PH’s Ed Legaspi, new ED of SEAPA

    A FILIPINO with long and solid background on media freedom, human rights, and the political economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the new executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).

    June 15, 2015

    A FILIPINO with long and solid background on media freedom, human rights, and the political economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the new executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA).

    The Board of Trustees of SEAPA, a network of independent media organizations in seven countries of Southeast Asia, has named Edgardo P. Legaspi, former SEAPA Alerts and Communications Officer, as new SEAPA executive director.

    Legaspi formally takes over as executive director on July 1, 2015.

    He succeeds Gayathry Venkiteswaran from Malaysia, who had served creditably well as executive director for over three years, a period which marked SEAPA’s implementation of its “Journalism for Change” program for journalists, Netizens, and media lawyers across the region.

    The SEAPA Trustees conducted rigorous interviews with Legaspi and four other short-listed candidates in Bangkok last month. In all, 12 persons from several countries vied for the position and submitted written application letters on their vision and plans for SEAPA.

    SEAPA has full and associate members from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and Myanmar.

    The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the Center for Media Freedom and responsibility (CMFR), the Thai Journalists Association, and Indonesia’s Association of Independent Journalists (AJI) and Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI) are founding members of SEAPA.

    “I am very happy to hand over the baton to Ed, with whom I’ve had a good working relationship for the last three years. I hope you will extend to him your support and cooperation as you have to me during my tenure,” Venkiteswaran said.

    In response, Legaspi said: “Thank you especially to Gaya, who encouraged me to apply. The challenges ahead for SEAPA are daunting, but have been made considerably smoother because of her work. Those are certainly higher standards to meet, but with your help, together, the tasks shall be easier. I am humbled by this.”

    Before joining SEAPA in March 2012, Legaspi had worked from 2006 to 2011 as manager of the Information, Communications, and Publications Department of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and development (FORUM-ASIA), and as consultant and coordinator for its Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples Programs and Peace and Human Security Program.

    In 2009, he served as ASEAN Program Associate of the Southeast Asian Committee for Advocacy (SEACA) where he managed and implemented project to promote civil society engagement with the ASEAN.

    In the Philippines from 1988 to 2004, Legaspi had worked variably as writer, editor, assistant manager, advocacy officer, and program coordinator of the Gazton Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, Asian Social Institute, and TABAK (Alliance of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Advocates).

    From October 2007 to November 2008, Legaspi had also worked with the Nonviolence International Southeast Asia (NISEA) as manager and trainer on human rights monitoring and conflict management strategy and development in Southern Thailand, as well as advisor and advocacy officer on disarmament (control of small arms and light weapons and banning landmines and cluster munitions)

    Legaspi holds an Economics degree from St. Joseph’s College in Quezon City, and has done course work for Master’s degrees in economics and human rights from the Asian Social Institute in the Philippines and the Mahidol University in Thailand.

    As SEAPA Alerts and Communications Officer in the last three years, Legaspi had worked as lead writer of reports on cases of free expression violations; led the development and implementation of SEAPA’s communication strategy; managed the alliance’s social media accounts, developed databases and a monitoring system for cases of free expression violations in Southeast Asia; and conducted research, orientation and training for SEAPA staff and network members on press freedom, Internet governance, media law and impunity, and secure communication tools.

    Before Legaspi and Venkiteswaran, another Filipino, Roby Alampay, had served as SEAPA’s first executive director.

    The six-person SEAPA secretariat based in Bangkok has staff personnel from Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar.