[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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[Regional] Democracy Consolidation in Asia: ‘Renewing Commitment to Uphold and Promote Democracy Together’

Approximately 60 key democracy advocates from across Asia convened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from April 2-3, 2019, at the “Democracy Consolidation in Asia Conference” hosted by the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) and Bersih 2.0 to affirm its commitment to uphold and promote democracy amidst current democracy challenges buffeting the region. 

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ANFREL released its Interim Report on the Conduct of the 2019 Thai General Election last Tuesday (26 March 2019) in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo credit: ANFREL.

[Thailand] Strong headwinds blew against free expression, media freedom ahead of polls —election observers

Limited public access to critical information. Widespread media self-censorship on pain of incurring the junta’s ire or inviting prosecution. Restricted space for independent political views.The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), which monitored the conduct of last Sunday’s general election in Thailand, noted the grim scenario that had hounded the Thai media as well as the public at large in the lead-up to the much-anticipated political exercise.

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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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[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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[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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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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[Vietnam] Radio Free Asia blogger goes missing after seeking refugee status in Thailand

Vietnamese blogger Truong Duy Nhat has been missing since 26 January 2019, and no one knows his whereabouts. Just three days ago, on 5 February 2019, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that they have lost contact with Nhat and are “extremely concerned” about his safety and well-being.  

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[Myanmar] Dismal state of free expression today’s reality under NLD-led gov’t

In its latest report on free speech, “Dashed Hopes: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Myanmar,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlined the current civic space for journalists and civil society in the country. While laws that criminalize free speech and defamation were enacted by previous administrations in Myanmar, the NLD government whose de facto leader is Aung San Suu Kyi, once known as the country’s icon of democracy, has made no progress in repealing or amending these laws, said the report released on 31 January 2019.

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Weekly Media Roundup (19 – 25 January 2019)

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

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Dire state of freedom of expression in SEA mirrors global trend

The continuing rise of autocratic forces across the globe weakened checks and balances for democracy such as free media, civic groups, and an independent judiciary in 2018 – and Southeast Asia was no exception. These are documented in the newly released World Report 2019 of the Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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Representatives of seven political parties seeking to contest the much-anticipated poll this year hold a copy of the TJA open letter appealing for their support of the media organization's call for the immediate repeal of the four NCPO special orders restricting media freedom in Thailand.

[Thailand] An earnest plea for media freedom ahead of the national vote

Amid continuing restrictions to the media in Thailand, there is one question that political parties contesting the anticipated general election, initially scheduled for February 24, must confront – what do they plan to do about the ongoing restrictions on the media imposed by the ruling military junta, or the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)?

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