[Philippines] CMFR Statement on ‘Anti-False Content Act:’ Dangerous and Unnecessary

If passed into law, Senate Bill Number 9, the “Anti-False Content Act” would not only abridge free expression and press freedom that is protected by Article III Section 4 of the Constitution. As law, it will further lower the bar of democratic discourse by limiting the online discussion of public issues to subjects considered safe and the expression of views and opinions to those approved by government.

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[Cambodia] Three years and still no effective investigation into Dr. Kem Ley’s killing

Kem Ley’s killing remains an alarming reminder of Cambodia’s culture of impunity in cases of apparent enforced disappearances, killings and other forms of physical and legal harassment of human rights defenders, labour leaders, monks, journalists, members of the political opposition and other individuals critical of the ruling regime since the 1991 Paris Peace Accords. Kem Ley’s death also occurred in the midst of a crackdown on dissent, and rising restrictions on independent and critical media.

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Photo from VOD.

[Cambodia] Fixer-translator sentenced to two years for role in documentary on child prostitution

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced a local fixer and translator to two years in prison and ordered him to pay about USD 17,500 in damages on 26 June 2019 for his participation in the making of a documentary about the sex trafficking of minors in Cambodia.

Rath Rott Mony worked for the Russian state-owned RT news channel’s documentary, “My Mother Sold Me,” which aired in October 2018. It tackled the stories of three young girls who were sold by their mothers into prostitution.

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[Thailand] Expert panel looks back on 2019 elections, rues ‘unfair’ and undemocratic process

The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) found the 2019 Thai General Election lacking the most important element that makes elections democratic: a healthy political climate. Although the election was peaceful and without obstruction, its legitimacy is questionable, said executive director Chandanie Watawala on 21 June 2019.

In part, this was because the Thai people were denied access to information that is so vital in any electoral process. 

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[Regional] Reclaiming civic space: Media, CSOs explore joint actions to reclaim media and civic spaces in Southeast Asia

SEAPA and ADN, with support from Bawaslu, organized a multi-stakeholder forum titled “Towards Building Regional Solidarity To Reclaim Civic Space In Southeast Asia” to discuss issues on shrinking civic space online and offline and sought to draw up actions to fight back.

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[Myanmar] Study reveals Facebook users go beyond social networking   

It is often said that Facebook is synonymous with the internet in Myanmar. Yet this oversimplification does not take into account what people make of the digital world, Myanmar-based innovation lab Phandeeyar reported in its newly released study.

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Photo by Defend the Defenders.

[Vietnam] Court sentences activist to 6 years in prison for Facebook posts

For Facebook posts on environment and democracy, Vietnamese activist Nguyen Ngoc Anh was sentenced to six years imprisonment today, 06 June 2019. The decision was handed down by the People’s Court of Ben Tre province during the one-day trial.

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[Cambodia] JOINT STATEMENT: CSOs express serious concern and call for a stop to the ongoing judicial harassment of former Cambodia National Rescue Party members

We, the undersigned civil society groups, express serious concern regarding the recent and ongoing judicial harassment of former Cambodia National Rescue Party (“CNRP”) elected officials and members through baseless arrests, summonses, and detentions across multiple provinces. We urge the Royal Government of Cambodia to immediately cease the harassment of members of the political opposition and instead take concrete measures to restore civic space and enable all individuals to exercise their rights to free expression, association, assembly and political participation.

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Source: IDN Times

[Indonesia] Women journalists’ group condemns violence against media

Forum Jurnalis Perempuan Indonesia (FJPI, Women Journalists Forum of Indonesia) condemns the violence that was committed against journalists covering the street protests in Jakarta on 22 May 2019. At least seven journalists covering the demonstration were physically attacked or threatened during their coverage of the incident. Two of them were women journalists — Intan Bedisa and Rahajeng Mutiara — who suffered physical and verbal assaults, said FJPI.

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Source: Prabowo Subianto Twitter account.

[Indonesia] Disruption of social media access leads to control over flow of information

Authorities restricted social media access in Indonesia after post-election protests turned violent early this week. Supporters of retired military general Prabowo Subianto are challenging the results of the elections that confirmed incumbent President Joko Widodo.

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[Indonesia] AJI urges government to lift social media restrictions

Indonesian government has restricted the use of social media to stop the widespread sharing of manipulated videos and pictures following the violent post-election riots that started from Tuesday night, 21 May 2019, and continued till yesterday evening. The riots erupted in several spots in Jakarta, concentrated in Thamrin area, Central Jakarta and Slipi, West Jakarta.

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