[Vietnam] With new cyber law in place, takedown of online report on plastic pollution a portent of more online crackdowns?

An online report on marine pollution in the coasts of Vietnam, taken down two days ago, remains inaccessible, and raises the specter of intensified crackdown on online media less than two months since a new cyber security law came into force. 

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[Philippines] Government’s unrelenting demonization, red-tagging escalates threats to media, press freedom

We call on all concerned public officials, notably President Rodrigo Duterte, to cease and desist from putting the press – or those that they see fit to malign every chance they get – in harm’s way and uphold their right to report freely and independently without fearing for their safety.

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[Philippines] Presidential Communications Undersecretary Egco and “Irresponsible Journalism”

All reports issued by the three groups go through the verification process that is at the heart of all true journalism, and in addition are subjected to the gate-keeping processes of the publications it serves.

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[Philippines] RED TAGGING: Hands off NUJP-Cagayan de Oro member Cong Corrales and family

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines deplores the inclusion of our member and former director Cong Corrales, his wife and son in an anonymous list naming alleged members of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Cagayan de Oro.

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Photo by AJI

[Indonesia] AJI Jakarta Condemns Violent Treatment of Journalists at Munajat 212

A number journalists had been assaulted, intimidated and persecuted by a crowd wearing the attributes of the the Islamic Defense Front (FPI) in the National Monument area during the Munajat 212 gathering held Thursday (2/21) night in Jakarta.

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[Singapore] SEAPA decries ‘harsh’ penalties against Wham, urges court to drop all charges

“Southeast Asian Press Alliance denounces Jolovan Wham’s sentencing and urges the court to reverse its decision, and drop any remaining charges against him that arose from the sheer exercise of his fundamental rights.”

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SOURCE: Jolovan Wham's Facebook

[Singapore] Activist Jolovan Wham ditches fine for 16-day prison term over illegal assembly

Choosing jail time over a court-imposed fine, civil rights activist Jolovan Wham was sentenced today, 21 February 2019, to at least two weeks of imprisonment for illegally organizing a public discussion that featured Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, who spoke over Skype.

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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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Court order lifts temporary ban against Voice TV

[Thailand] SEAPA lauds court’s decision lifting Voice TV ban; says it ‘gives grounds for hope’

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) welcomes the decision of the Thai court allowing Voice TV to resume its broadcast operations after initially being suspended for 15 days.

The Central Administrative Court handed down the decision on Friday, 15 February 2019, effectively lifting the temporary ban imposed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on the digital TV broadcaster on 12 February 2019.

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Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

[Thailand] Suspending Voice TV: ‘An attack on media freedom’ —Pakistan Press Foundation

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) condemns this step of National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and termed it an attack on media freedom. PPF also urge the authorities and media regulator to lift the order of suspending broadcasts of Voice TV.

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Weekly Media Roundup (9 – 15 February 2019)

Some of the press freedom- and free expression-related events and issues you might have missed last week

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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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[Philippines] Rappler’s Maria Ressa arrested for cyber libel

Journalist Maria Ressa was arrested Wednesday, 13 February 2019, for online libel by officers of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at Rappler’s office, in Pasig City. 

We will “cooperate with the authorities and try to post bail tonight,” Ressa said during the brief press conference held at Rappler’s office immediately after the arrest warrant was served.

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[Philippines] Maria Ressa’s arrest ‘belies all pretense of upholding press freedom’ —SEAPA

“The issuance of the arrest warrant and the entering of charges against Maria Ressa should settle any remaining doubt that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration will stop at nothing to keep a free and inquisitive media out of its way.”

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