[Malaysia] CIJ, MCCHR launch site for media council national consultation

The Centre for Independent Journalism in Malaysia (CIJ) and the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) launched today, 22 February 2019 a website (http://msiamediacouncil.website/) to “begin discussions again on establishing a National Media Council of Malaysia.”

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[Myanmar] Media community condemns verdict against Tanintharyi Journal over a satirical article

On 18 February 2019, a district court from Dawei Township, Tanintharyi division announced its verdict on Thanitharyi Journal. The court decision states that the local paper has violated Article 25 (b) of the 2014 Media Law by publishing a satirical story, therefore, was sentenced to six-month imprisonment or fined 500,000 kyats (about USD 450). We, the media community in Myanmar, condemn this verdict as it restricts media freedom and the rights of media outlets. 

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Photo from vodhotnews.com

[Cambodia] Three reporters detained for alleged extortion; deny accusation

Three Cambodian reporters were detained overnight on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 by police in Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district for allegedly interrupting the business operations and extorting money from the owner of a mining pit and trucks in the area. 

They denied the charges and were released the following day. According to the police, the two parties reached a settlement, resulting in the dismissal of the complaint. It was not known if a sum was paid as part of the settlement.

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[Philippines] SEAPA, other groups issue joint statement of solidarity with Ressa and Rappler; call for all charges to be dropped

The news website, and its journalists, do not deserve to be persecuted. On the contrary, they must be lauded and allowed an enabling environment in which to carry out their work.

We call for all charges leveled against Maria Ressa and Rappler to be dropped, and call on President Rodrigo Duterte to restore genuine press freedom in the Philippines.

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Rappler CEO Maria Ressa talks with the media after posting bail. | Photo by CMFR

[Philippines] Rappler’s Maria Ressa Posts Bail on Cyber Libel

Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa posted bail today, 14 February 2019, at Branch 46 of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with a cyber libel charge over an article the online news site published in 2012.

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[Philippines] AJI Condemns the Arrest of Journalist Maria Ressa

Based on these new developments in the Philippines, AJI stated:

1. Condemning the arrest of Maria Ressa. This arrest was none other than an attempt to silence journalists and media who were critical to the government.

2. Expressing solidarity and support for Maria Ressa, Rappler and our colleagues in the Philippines, The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

3. Urging the Philippine government to respect democracy, protect the freedom of the press by stopping all kinds of intimidation and drop all charges against Maria Ressa.

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[Philippines] An Attack on One is an Attack on All

We call on the press and media community to condemn this outrage and to stand with Rappler. An attack on the freedom of one journalist or one news organization weakens the capacity of the entire institution to report the truth and is an attack on all of us and on democracy itself.

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[Philippines] Arrest of Maria Ressa is persecution by a bully government

Even as we are certain they will hold the line, we stand with Maria and our colleagues at Rappler and urge all colleagues who value the work we do and the independence essential to it to circle the wagons and resist this blatant assault on our right and liberties.

We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to stand with the independent Philippine press in defense of the rights not only of media but of the people. For in suppressing the press it is the people’s right to know that is trampled on.

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NUJP national chairperson Nonoy Espina and Negros Press Club president Boy Duran react on the “drug list” implicating local journalists in Bacolod City.

[Philippines] Negros media up in arms over ‘drug list’

The media community in the central Philippine province of Negros Occidental was up in arms following the circulation since late last week of at least three lists of purported “drug protectors” that included at least 15 of their colleagues.

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[Philippines] Cyber attack downs NUJP site twice

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) website was briefly inaccessible twice on 8 February 2019 in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, the group said in a statement.

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Photo from AJI Indonesia

[Indonesia] National Press Day ‘more ceremonial’ than substantive – AJI

The just concluded Hari Pers Nasional (HPN, or the National Press Day) may have been touted as a celebration of the role of the press in a still largely democratic society like Indonesia, and, as in years past since 1985, was meant to be a meaningful occasion for the entire nation – except that not everyone, let alone some journalist groups, found any reason to celebrate it.

The choice of date, February 9, remains contentious for many, for the historical baggage that it carries.

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Photo by FJPI

[Indonesia] Women journalists tell their stories in new book

Published by Forum Jurnalis Perempuan Indonesia (FJPI, Indonesian Women Journalists Forum), the book, Jurnalis Perempuan Meliput Indonesia: 50 Kisali di Balik Berita (Female Journalists Covering Indonesia: 50 Stories Behind the News), was launched Friday, 8 February 2019, at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Surabaya, capital city of East Java. The launch coincided with the commemoration of the National Press Day of Indonesia, which is celebrated annually on February 9.

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[Indonesia] AJI Denounces President Jokowi’s Grant of Remission to Journalist’s Murderer

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision to reduce I Nyoman Susrama’s sentence has obstructed justice and hurt not only the victim’s family but also the country’s press community.

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[Indonesia] Lighter sentence for convicted killer a ‘step back’ for press freedom

The Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI) chapter in Denpasar (capital city of the Indonesian province of Bali) has denounced the president’s decision. AJI Denpasar chairperson Nandhang R. Astika described it as a “step back” in press freedom.

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[Philippines] NUJP: PNA fake news proves gov’t hand in red-tagging

That the state news agency, which is under the supervision of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, saw fit to run this utterly malicious and false story clearly proves that this is, indeed, an orchestrated campaign to vilify and silence not just the NUJP but the independent and critical press, involving no less than the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

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[Philippines] Tabloids link NUJP to CPP-NPA-NDF

Three Manila-based tabloids published similar banner stories on 7 January 2019 linking the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

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[Indonesia] AJI 2018 Year-End Note: Persecution and Violence Threaten Journalists

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) noted many improvements in the media and journalism practices in 2018. However, the overall condition—especially concerning press freedom and professionalism—was not satisfying.

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