From Le Minh The's Facebook

[Vietnam] Facebook posts critical of cybersecurity law land activist two years in jail

Activist Le Minh The was sentenced Wednesday, 20 March 2019, to two years in prison for “abusing democratic freedom rights to infringe upon the interests of the state and on the legitimate rights and interests or organisations and citizens” under the Article 331 of the 2015 Penal Code. This development came about during his trial in southern Can Tho province, according to news reports. 

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Facebook photo: Bird Sanctuary sues Siem Reap journalist over allegedly false information

[Cambodia] Siem Reap tourism association sues journalist over ‘false information’

A Siem Reap tourism association has filed a court complaint against the publisher of a one-man digital news outlet, claiming it was spreading false information about the Boeng Pearaing bird sanctuary.

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[Philippines] Gov’t, media can’t play fast, loose with due process and rule of law

Several journalists and media organizations express grave concern about the likely breach of professional ethics and adverse legal implications of the publication and broadcast of the Duterte Administration’s list of public officials allegedly involved in the illegal-drugs trade.

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[Singapore] Activist in hot water for posting photo; alleged offense tantamount to ‘illegal assembly’

For posting a photo of himself holding a sign supportive of two fellow Singaporeans charged with criminal defamation, civil rights activist Jolovan Wham is under police investigation for another “illegal assembly.”

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Voice TV chief executive officer Makin Petplai welcomes the court decision for Voice TV to continue broadcast

[Thailand] Court rules in favor of Voice TV

The Central Administrative Court of Thailand has granted Voice TV’s petition to junk the 15-day suspension order imposed on it by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on 12 February 2019.

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[Thailand] SEAPA stands behind Voice TV; urges court to uphold international norms on press freedom and free expression

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) stands solidly behind, and is unwavering in its support for, Voice TV in the latter’s effort to assert its right to press freedom, particularly in the midst of the difficult situation where it finds itself anew, having been slapped with another suspension order.

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[Myanmar] Violence against Kachin-based journalists deplorable; police must punish the perpetrators —SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) echoes the calls of Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN) and Myanmar Press Council to investigate a mining company based in Waingmaw, Kachin that allegedly detained and assaulted local journalists over the latter’s reports on the environmental and social impact of the firm’s banana plantation operations. 

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Statement of the Myanmar Press Council on the incident

[Myanmar] Journalist community condemns attack against Myitkyina Journal reporters, calls to hold perpetrators accountable

On 26 February, two journalists from Myitkyina Journal – based on Myitkyina Kachin State – were forcibly taken by the personnel of the Tha Khin Sit company at its premises. Then, a female journalist was slapped and her male colleague was forced to do sit-ups several times; they also threatened both journalists not to write anything about the mining company. 

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[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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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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[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] 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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