WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (1 – 7 July 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)

Burma News International (BNI)
Journalism and Democracy in Myanmar: The Case of Civil Rights and Freedom from Fear


Fifth Ethnic Media Conference agrees on drafting ethnic media policy


Defamation case against Mizzima Media dropped


National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
[STATEMENT] NUJP supports dismissed PTV4 employees


IFEX. “The Faces of Free Expression | Vietnam’s Mother Mushroom: Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh


Southeast Asia

Bangkok Post: “Thailand ranks 20th in global cybersecurity ranking

“Thailand was at 20th in a global cybersecurity ranking while Singapore ranked first with a near-perfect approach to cybersecurity, a UN survey showed on Wednesday (5 July 2017)…Elsewhere in Asean, Malaysia ranked 10th, while the Philippines was at 37th, Indonesia 70th and Cambodia 92nd.”



The Phnom Penh Post: “Daily reporters get second summons

“Two Cambodia Daily reporters received a second summons from the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court yesterday (6 July 2017) in relation to a complaint filed by three Pate commune residents alleging the pair ‘incited people’ in the course of seemingly routine election reporting…. A copy of the summons, dated June 28, asks the two reporters – Zsombor Peter and Aun Pheap – to appear before the court on July 20, where each of them will be questioned separately.”


The Cambodia Daily: “A Year to Elections, CNRP’s Sun TV Still a Dream

“It was supposed to be the opposition’s information pipeline to the heartland, an unfiltered channel—available 24/7—into the homes of rural Cambodians who still got most of their news from a television landscape dominated by the long-ruling CPP. The CNRP would call it Sun TV, a hopeful reflection of the rising sun in the party’s logo…. It has not worked out that way—at least not yet.”



Malay Mail Online: “With lawsuits, does DAP still believe in press freedom? BN team asks

“The Barisan Nasional Strategic Communications (BNSC) team questioned today (5 July 2017) if the DAP still upheld press freedom after the party recently threatened to sue three newspapers…. BNSC deputy director Eric See-To noted that Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had sent legal notices to China Press, Guang Ming and the New Straits Times over the past three days.”


Free Malaysia Today. “Bebas: Irrational curbs on social media will do more harm

“Civil rights group Bebas has cautioned that any move to impose irrational restrictions on freedom of expression over social media in Malaysia will only amplify uncertainties and tensions among users, rather than eradicate the trend of illegal and offensive content being posted online.”

See also:

The Star Online: “(Opinion) Time to regulate social media



The Irrawaddy: “Journalists Planning to Sue Police

“The Protecting Committee for Myanmar Journalists’ (PCMJ) complaint against Cpl Soe Myint Aung of the Yangon military command was rejected by deputy police captain Aye Min Thein of Bahan Township police station on Thursday (6 July 2017)…. At the fifth court hearing of The Voice Daily’s chief editor U Kyaw Min Swe, plain-clothed soldier Cpl Soe Myint Aung photographed journalists’ individual faces instead of taking wider shots while they were interviewing legal adviser U Khin Maung Myint outside of the court. U Kyaw Min Swe is being sued by Lt-Col Lin Tun of the Yangon military headquarters under the notorious Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law, enacted during ex-president U Thein Sein’s tenure.”


DVB: “Family members visit detained DVB journalist

“The three journalists who were arrested in Ta’ang territory last week –  Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung of DVB, and Irrawaddy reporter Lawi Weng – are all in good health, said one of Aye Nai’s brothers after the first family visit permitted since the trio’s arrest last week…. Family members of Aye Nai, a veteran reporter for DVB who is currently being detained in Hsipaw Prison, had a chance meet him for the first time this morning (3 July 2017).”

See also:

The Irrawaddy: “Case of Detained Myanmar Reporters Moves From Hsipaw” ; “Hearing Date Set for Detained Myanmar Journalists” ; “Reporters’ Arrest Could Lead to Review of Unlawful Associations Act


BBC News: “Press freedom ‘under threat’ in new Myanmar

“When the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate kept under house arrest for years because of her democratic activism, won historic elections in 2015, many expected more media freedom would follow…. But journalists and press freedom advocates are alarmed by what they say is an increasingly heavy-handed approach, especially on matters of sensitivity to the military, which retains significant power.”

See also:

Myanmar Times: “Journalists call for media freedom
The Irrawaddy. “Interactive Timeline: Press Freedom Under Attack” ; “Myanmar Mulls Change to Defamation Law” ; “Commentary: The Military’s Offensive Against the Media
Eleven. “66(d) must be changed: former Speaker
Mizzima: “EU issues statement in support of media freedom in Myanmar
Asian Correspondent: “EU urges Burma to uphold media freedom after arrests of journalists
VOA: “Myanmar Journalists Grapple With Lack of Access, Legal Fears
Asia Times: “Gagging the messengers of Myanmar’s wars
TIME: “The Arrest of Three Journalists Shows a Disturbing Lack of Press Freedom in Democratic Myanmar



Rappler.com: “Duterte threatens ‘exposé’ vs Inquirer

“As President Rodrigo Duterte embarked on his second year in office, he launched fresh attacks against a major newspaper, accusing its owners of not paying proper taxes for a property whose ownership is still the subject of a court battle…. In a speech during the Davao del Norte’s 50th founding anniversary on Saturday, July 1, the Chief Executive warned that he would ‘make an exposé’ against the Philippine Daily Inquirer whose owners he accused of incorrect tax payment.”


The Conversation: “Fighting back against prolific online harassment in the Philippines

“In the past decade, more than 800 journalists have been killed in the course of their work according to UNESCO, while hundreds more have been assaulted, imprisoned or harassed…. The nature of the threat is changing as the virtual world spills into the physical. The experiences of Filipino journalist Maria Ressa show how reporters now face targeted online harassment campaigns designed to discredit and silence them.”

See also:

Rappler.com: “Social media in the time of Duterte


CNN Philippines: “Gov’t shuts down social media accounts of terrorism supporters

“Some 60 social media accounts allegedly facilitating or supporting terrorist propaganda have been taken down, the military said Friday (7 July 2017)…. Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said that these are just some of 300 more accounts they are closely monitoring.”


INQUIRER.NET: “Court acquits Negros radio anchor of libel raps

“The Regional Trial Court (RTC) has cleared a broadcaster here, who was accused of two counts of libel by Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo over commentaries made in 2014…. In a 14-page decision dated June 30, Judge Arlene Catherine A. Dato of Regional Trial Court Branch 39 said the prosecution failed to prove that Cornelio B. Pepino of the dyMD Energy FM acted in bad faith when he criticized the governor in his radio programs on Nov. 6 and 7, 2014.”


The Manila Times: “Journalists seek firearms license

“Journalists on Friday (7 July 2017) to the National Press Club (NPC) in Intramuros, Manila to secure licenses to own and carry firearms–a program supported by the government–to ensure their safety.”


Global Voices: “Philippine Senator Moves to Criminalize ‘Fake News’ — Could This Lead to Censorship?

“Philippine Senator Joel Villanueva filed a bill in late June that would criminalize the ‘malicious distribution of false news.’ Media groups are warning it could lead to censorship.”



Bangkok Post: “Reform body votes for tight social media censorship

“The junta’s chief reform body has voted almost unanimously for a complicated set of stringent restrictions including mandatory fingerprint and face scanning even to buy time to use a mobile phone…The package of wide-ranging measures would place Thai censorship and online restrictions even closer to those of nations such as China and Iran, which try to tightly control citizens’ access to information.”

See also:

Khaosod English: “Govt backtracks from weak basis for threatening Facebook, again
Bangkok Post: “NBTC makes volte-face on OTT plan


Samui Times: “Samui Times Responds to News Reports they are being Sued

“The Samui Times is not currently aware of any libel charges against the publication and has not been contacted by any members of the police, the Surat Thani governor or local officials…. With regards to labelling Koh Tao ‘death island’, this is not a label created by this publication, we have simply reported that it is a term used on social media sites and locals to describe that island that is internationally known to have a disproportionate amount of tourist deaths for its size.”

See also:

Khaosod English: “Samui Times faces libel charge for labeling Koh Tao ‘Death Island’
Coconuts Bangkok: “Thai governor to sue tiny news site for dubbing Koh Tao ‘Death Island’
Thai PBS: “Officials threaten to sue ‘Samui Times’ for its coverage of a Belgian tourist’s death


Bangkok Post: “Overseas news media back self-regulation

“Civil society needs to be involved in the self-regulatory mechanism of the media since public participation will strengthen the mechanism said media self-regulation experts.”

See also:

The Nation: “Thai media meeting challenges of junta regulation plans, NPC says



VN Express: “Vietnam gov’t orders heavier punishment for agency behind false toxic fish sauce survey

“Local media outlets were also caught up in the scandal. As many as 50 news organizations were fined for carrying the findings and sparking public panic, and two editors of a major newspaper had their press cards revoked.”


QUARTZ. “MUSHROOM AND BEAR | ‘Why did the fish die?’: The questions and Facebook posts that led Vietnam to imprison a mom blogger

“Last week, Vietnam convicted and sentenced her (Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh) to prison for a decade on charges of ‘conducting propaganda against the state.’ The main evidence against her? A body of writing, some 400 Facebook posts about fish deaths, China’s intervention in the South China Sea, and police brutality in Vietnam. Her Facebook posts were described by the police as ‘a pessimistic, one-sided view that caused public confusion and affected the people’s faith [in the State].'”


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Vietnam Detains Young Activist Over Critical Facebook Comments

“Vietnam has arrested a young activist for posting material critical of the government on social media, his mother told RFA’s Vietnamese on Wednesday (5 July 2017)…. Ho Chi Minh City native Tran Hoang Phuc, 23, was detained on July 3 on the accusation of ‘possessing materials, producing and posting videos on internet critical of the government’ under article 88 of Vietnam’s penal code, she said.”


Global Voices: “Vietnamese Blogger Phạm Minh Hoàng Detained, Stripped of Citizenship, and Exiled to France

“Professor Phạm Minh Hoàng learned earlier this month that Vietnam’s president had decided to take away his citizenship. The 61-year-old, who holds dual French-Vietnamese citizenship, is a prominent blogger who writes about human rights, social justice, and corruption in Vietnam. He’s a member of the pro-democracy party Việt Tân. Hoàng was interviewed from Saigon by Loa’s contributing reporter Lilly Nguyễn before the professor was arrested and exiled to France.”



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

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