[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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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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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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[Indonesia] Call for Probe into Violence against Journalists at the May 22 Post-Election Protests

AJI Jakarta and the Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers) strongly condemn the assault on journalists as well as attempts to impede them in their work by both the police and protesters.

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Photo by Maung Saungkha.

[Myanmar] Release of Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo a rare triumph of justice — SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) hails the release of convicted Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were charged under the 1923 Official Secrets Act.

They were among the 6,520 prisoners pardoned by President Win Myint on Tuesday, 7 May. The two courageous journalists were in a Insein jail for 511 days.

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[Thailand] TJA calls for ‘freedom with responsibilities’ on WPFD2019

The Thai Journalists Association continues to support the principles to ensure that professional media members of all channels is aware of the value of “press freedom” and commits themselves to the morals of the media profession under the principles of “freedom with responsibilities.” In the era of online and social media, press media has high expectation from the public and is monitored by all sectors in society. As a result, members of the press media must share their responsibilities in all forms.

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[Philippines] The State of Media, under Duterte

IN the last 34 months under President Rodrigo R. Duterte, cases and incidents of attacks and threats on the Philippine media continue relentlessly, with hardly any major efforts at investigation or solution by responsible state agencies.To mark World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday, May 3, the “Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network” released its third semestral report on The State of Philippine Media under the Duterte Administration.

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[Philippines] The President and the Press: A Timeline of Hostilities Against the Media

BY ALL indications, President Rodrigo R. Duterte has no love lost for independent and critical media.

In about two dozen times in his 34 months in office, he has openly expressed his displeasure and disaffection, and in rancorous prose called journalists names and foisted threats both veiled and naked against certain media agencies.

In his own words, here’s a timeline of the things that President Duterte has said about the press.

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[Philippines] Just the Facts: Foreign Funding Isn’t the Problem

Sheila Coronel, also one of the founders of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and former board member of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), disputes Roberto Tiglao’s arguments and persistent attacks in the following essay.

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World Press Freedom Day

Political freedom and civil liberties are in a downward spiral globally. Democracy is not only in retreat, but is under assault in Southeast Asia. State-sponsored threats and attacks, internet being weaponized with toxic discourse and false narratives, hate speech and identity politics have favored patrons, caused deep divisions, and targeted vulnerable sectors.

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[Regional] Stand in Solidarity with the Media Community

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Stakeholders — youth, women, indigenous peoples, LGBTQI+, lawyers, and governments — share their thoughts on “Why is the media important? Why should the media be free?”

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[Regional] SEAPA Bulletin: World Press Freedom Day 2019

May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), a celebration of media freedom as a basic human right. It is a call for the promotion and protection of free expression around the world and a salute to journalists and media workers who are at risk for upholding the people’s democratic right to information.

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WPFD2019: On World Press Freedom Day, we call for protection of journalists and a free press in Southeast Asia and across the world

Freedom of information and freedom of expression are fundamental rights, and journalists must be permitted to exercise them in order to do their work, including by exposing corruption, criticizing public policy, and illuminating human rights violations, without fear of negative repercussions. A journalist’s work should be secure, safe and supported. On World Press Freedom Day, we call for protection and support of our independent media, from publishers, from the government, and from the public.

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[Regional] The Slide Backwards Across Southeast Asia

Political freedom and civil liberties are in a downward spiral globally. Democracy is not only in retreat, but is under assault in Southeast Asia.State-sponsored threats and attacks, internet being weaponized with toxic discourse and false narratives, hate speech and identity politics have favored patrons, caused deep divisions, and targeted vulnerable sectors.

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