WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (3 – 9 June 2017)

Here are some of the press freedom- and free expression-related events and issues you might have missed last week:


Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
We can’t stop fake news from being made. But we can stop sharing it.


IFEX: “Asia & Pacific in three minutes



The New York Times. “Cambodia’s Buddhist Monks Find a Second Calling: Political Correspondent

“Luon Sovath, 37, is the most prominent member of a group of monks who have become citizen journalists, monitoring political events and human rights conditions in Cambodia on social media. Their efforts are part of a growing campaign by Cambodians who are using the internet to get around the government’s stranglehold on mass media and civic life…. Facebook, news apps and political memes have allowed the monks and the country’s nascent political opposition to connect directly with Cambodians who have scant access to independent news media.”



TEMPO.CO: “Persecution Threatens Freedom of Expression

“Persecution of social media users accused of smearing Islam and clerics proves that not all citizens enjoy their constitutional right to express opinions. This is a clear violation of Article 28 of the 1945 Constitution which guarantees every citizen the right to freedom of association, assembly and expression, as well as the right to convey information via different channels.”



Malaysiakini: “How does self-regulation of the media work?

“Accused of portraying Muslims as terrorists, the English daily has been accused of sedition and inciting religious disharmony, and faces the possibility of having their printing license revoked – a notion which critics say would be an overreaction by the government…. This has revived calls for the media to police itself, instead of having the government watching over it.”


Nikkei Asian Review: “Malaysia begins switch to digital TV

“Malaysia has launched digital terrestrial television, or DTT, moving away from analog and radio wave technology in line with the global digitization trend that began in developed economies.”



The Irrawaddy: “Journalists Launch Campaign, Call for Termination of Article 66(d)

“More than 100 journalists in Rangoon demanded on Tuesday that the government withdraw lawsuits filed against reporters under the country’s controversial Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.”

See also:

“(Guest Column) Myanmar Deserves More Than a Miserable Media Environment
Mizzima: “Call for change as two more people fall foul of defamation law
Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Journalists Band Together to Fight Law Used to Attack Press Freedom
VOA: “Myanmar Journalists Take Fight for Freedom of Speech to Court
Reuters: “Myanmar journalists campaign for free speech outside Myanmar trial
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Editor and columnist detained on criminal defamation charges in Myanmar” ; “Myanmar: One year under Suu Kyi, press freedom lags behind democratic progress” ; “Myanmar officials pledge to reform law used to jail journalists


The Irrawaddy: “Human Rights Activist Charged Under Article 66(d) for Live-streaming a Satirical Play

“A local human rights leader in Irrawaddy Division’s capital Pathein was arrested on Sunday (4 June 2017) after he was charged with Article 66(d) of Burma’s Telecommunications Law for live-streaming a play that was critical of military clashes with ethnic armed groups on Facebook…. Police arrested U Tun Tun Oo, leader of the Human Rights Activists Association, for streaming the drama entitled ‘We Want No War’ staged by high school students and undergraduates of Pathein University during a peace discussion in Pathein on Jan. 9.”


Coconuts Yangon: “Myanmar bars Rakhine documentary from human rights film fest

“Myanmar’s censors have barred a documentary on festering religious tensions between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, a film festival organizer said Thursday (8 June 2017), highlighting deep sensitivity over a conflict that has bedeviled Myanmar’s new civilian government.”



GMA News Online: “Lascañas charged with murder raps over killing of journalist Jun Pala

“Government prosecutors have slapped murder and frustrated murder charges against retired policeman Arturo Lascañas in connection with the attacks that led to the death of broadcaster Juan Porras ‘Jun’ Pala in 2003…. Filed with the Davao City Regional Trial Court on June 1, the cases stemmed from the two attempts on Pala’s life in June 2002 and April 2003, respectively, and his assassination on September 6, 2003.”


Journal Online: “Online sports mag writer charged for posting on Twitter malicious remarks vs PBA commissioner

“A sportswriter of an online sports magazine has been charged before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for posting in his Twitter account several derogatory and malicious remarks against Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Narvasa…. Charged with 11 counts of online libel was Edmund ‘Snow’ Badua, a contributor of online sports magazine Spin.ph, and a resident of 99-I Visayas Ave., QC.”

See also:

Manila Bulletin: “Sports scribe charged with libel


The New York Times: “Philippines Asks Social Media to Remove Militant Video

“Philippine military officials said Wednesday (7 June 2017) that they’ve asked social media companies including Facebook to remove a video of militants smashing icons in a Catholic church in a besieged southern city, saying it may be an attempt to fan hatred and turn the conflict into a religious war.”


Rappler.com: “PH media groups release Facebook fake news blocker

“Now available at the Chrome Web Store, ‘Fakeblok’ is the result of a collaboration between the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility…the plug-in ‘blocks articles from fake news sites on your Facebook newsfeed,’ the NUJP said in a Facebook post announcing the tool on Wednesday, June 7.”


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Pinoys spend most time online in Southeast Asia

“Netizens in the Philippines spend the most time online among select Southeast Asian countries, with Filipinos ‘far more forgiving of poorly performing website experiences,’ according to a survey by a global content delivery network services…. The report by Limelight Networks Inc. titled ‘State of the User Experience—Southeast Asia’ was a result of a survey of 1,600 consumers in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.”



Channel News Asia: “Thai man jailed for 35 years for defaming royals on Facebook

“A Thai man was jailed for 35 years on Friday (Jun 9) for Facebook posts deemed insulting to the royal family, a watchdog said, in one of the harshest sentences handed down for a crime that insulates Thailand’s ultra-rich monarchy from criticism.”

See also:

Bangkok Post: “Longest prison sentence ever for lese majeste
Khaosod English: “Man gets 35-year lese majeste sentence for Facebook page


Khaosod English: “Controversial coverage of ‘murder babes’ raises press freedom stakes

“The government took steps to regulate popular Facebook pages this week, and among the 30 such pages summoned to meet with broadcast regulators was a 6-month-old page called ‘E-Jan….’ With more than three million followers, the page recently surpassed traditional media in the all-consuming story of a woman cut in half in the northern province of Khon Kaen, the coverage of which has raised the stakes for the traditional media struggling to convince the public its freedoms should be upheld.”



Please refer to this blog for other media, press freedom, and free expression stories not included in this roundup.

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