[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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[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: 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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[Singapore] SEAPA appeals to Singapore government to recall anti-falsehood draft law

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) echoes the concerns raised by other press freedom and free expression advocates across the globe on this draconian bill that, inter alia, grants overarching powers to state authorities in combating disinformation, potentially leaving its citizens, particularly the media, in an even more precarious state once a new law of this kind comes into force.

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[Vietnam] Open Letter to Facebook: Don’t Give in to Censorship

With over 64 million Facebook users and not a single independent newspaper in Vietnam, Facebook is where Vietnamese go “to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, we urge Facebook to abide by this aspiration of its mission statement.

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