Swe Win. Source: Karen News

[Myanmar] Drop defamation charges against journalist Ko Swe Win and repeal Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law

Myanmar authorities must drop the case against Ko Swe Win and take concrete steps to repeal Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law, 77 organisations said in a joint statement today.

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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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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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[Timor-Leste] Free media, but still threatened

Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo’s decision to take Timor Post’s editor in chief Lourenco Martins and his journalist Raimundo Oki to court, claiming that they published fake news stories and that it publicly damaged his image and reputation. Though the right of reply was granted to the Prime Minister. Timor Post even publicly apologized at the Palace of the Government for the mistake. But unfortunately, the Prime Minister kept taking the case to the court because of the so-called truth.

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