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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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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[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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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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[Regional] Southeast Asia’s draconian cyber laws: In the name of ‘national security’, so say states

Laws regulating how people use the internet must never serve as tools to control and silence critical and independent voices. Yet this is the stark reality in much of Southeast Asia today.

In a region where authoritarianism is on the rise, these laws have conveniently become the state’s weapon to restrict freedoms of expression and information, and penalize dissent.

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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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[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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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] 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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