WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (1 – 7 October 2016)

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)


Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists)
[Indonesia] Army members attack TV contributor


BFM 89.9: “The Risk of Reporting in the #Philippines

“The media has also been under attack lately, with local journalists received threats online by Duterte’s supporters after covering the work of his government. This has raised concerns among local and international journalist groups…. BFM asks; are Filipino journalists safe under the current administration?”

See also:

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
Online Threats against Journalists Mark Duterte’s 100 Days


Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)
FOI in PDU30’s First 100 Days: Good Start, Big Balance of Work

“On the first 100 days of the Duterte Administration, the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition (R2KRN) cites the issuance of Executive Order No. 2 on the Freedom of Information as a good start, but stresses that so much more has yet to be done to guarantee the full enjoyment of the people’s right to know.”

See also:

FOI request on drug war data: PNP, DILG, DOJ won’t open up
DOJ received no FOI request? Check your facts, Mr Aguirre!


Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
Editorial. “The Press and Public Officials: Apart Because Different

“The practice of appointed and elected officials’ serving as newspaper columnists, or as television or radio commentators, crosses the line between the necessary distinction of, on the one hand, the government as object of public scrutiny, and on the other, a free press’ critical function of monitoring government.”


Southeast Asia

TechCrunch: “500 Startups announces new $50 million fund for Southeast Asia

“…Southeast Asia is poised to see major tech growth. A recent report co-authored by Google predicted that Southeast Asia’s digital economy will reach $200 billion by 2025. With 260 million users now and an estimated 480 million by 2020, it is the world’s fastest growing internet market — bringing 3.8 million people online for the first time each month.”

See also:

PitchBook: “500 Startups doubles down on SE Asia



telecomasia.net: “UNHR blasts Cambodian telecoms, cybercrime laws

“Cambodia was in the spotlight in the 33rd regular session of the United Human Rights council. The report from the UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith highlighted two concerns when it came to telecommunications industry – a vague and yet draconian telecoms law adopted last year and a totally secret cybercrime law that is currently being drafted.”



Jakarta Globe: “TV Journalist Allegedly Assaulted By Soldiers in E. Java

“Sony Misdananto, a journalist at television broadcaster NET TV, was allegedly assaulted and intimidated by soldiers while reporting on Islamic new year celebrations in Madiun district, East Java, on Sunday (02/10).”

See also:

Coconuts Bali: “Journalists peacefully protest in Denpasar over military allegedly attacking TV reporters in Sumatra and Java
Tempo.co: “Military Personnel Assault Journalist
Committee to Protect Journalists: “Soldiers assault Indonesian journalist


The Jakarta Post. “Data transparency crucial to achieving SDG goals: Experts

“Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) executive director Philips Vermonte said the government needed to create the right policies to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality, two of the SDG targets, by applying a data-driven approach.”



Radio Free Asia: “Detained Lao Worker Sees Family in First Visit

“A Lao citizen arrested in March for criticizing Laos’s government and ruling party on Facebook while working abroad was seen last week by his family in a brief visit to the jail in which he is being held, a family member said.”



The Sun Daily: “Umno to tighten information access during AGM

“Access to information during the upcoming Umno Annual General Assembly (AGM) will be tightened to disallow unregistered media publications from taking advantage and publish reports detrimental to the party.”

See also:

Malay Mail Online. “Opinion: Why the need to be secretive?



Myanmar Times: “Journalist found guilty of defamation

“A journalist for a Tanintharyi publication has been found guilty of defamation and was sentenced to pay a K30,000 fine or serve a three-month sentence…. The columnist, U Aung Lwin, was sued by mining company Delco over an article he had written for the weekly.”


Daily Mail: “Two charged for insulting Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi

“Despite soaring hopes her (Aung San Suu Kyi) administration would nurture a new era of free expression, several people have been prosecuted for defamation since her party took over in late March.”



National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “[Statement] Journalism is no crime

“We stand by Manny Mogato and Karen Lema, and all other colleagues facing threats and other pressures because of the work they do, and are sure that all colleagues who take pride in the profession and serving the people’s right to know will do the same even as they continue to carry on their duties despite the risks and dangers they face…. We are worried over the continued vilification of media and attempts to lay the predicate to muzzle freedom of the press and of expression.”

See also:

GMA News Online: “‘Continued vilification’ of media worries NUJP
INQUIRER.net: “Threatening journalists criminal–NUJP” ; “Thai press club to PH gov’t: Protect journalists from attacks
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Foreign reporters assail attacks by Duterte backers


INQUIRER.net. “Digong’s plaint: I’m always taken out of context

“President Duterte has lashed out at the media for allegedly choosing only the stories they want to report, and accused them of splicing videos to suit a particular angle, which often badly portrays his controversial war on drugs.”

See also:

CMFR chair: Duterte and his men are the problems, not media
BusinessWorld: “President’s firemen scramble to put out the blaze


Sun.Star Cebu: “CA affirms Leo’s libel conviction

“The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the trial court’s judgment convicting broadcaster and columnist Leo Lastimosa of libel in 2013…. The CA’s Special 19th Division upheld the ruling of retired Regional Trial Court Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr., who found Lastimosa guilty of maligning the reputation of former governor and now Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu, third district).”

See also:

Cebu Daily News: “Broadcaster Lastimosa files MR for Appeals Court decision on libel case


Rappler.com. “Propaganda war: Weaponizing the internet

“This series takes apart this new phenomenon triggered by technology and information’s exponential growth: Part 1 looks at the paid propaganda taking over social media; Part 2 takes apart the new information ecosystem, its impact on human behavior, and how its weaknesses could be exploited; and, Part 3 focuses on 26 fake accounts on Facebook, which together extend to a network that influences more than 970,000 accounts. Part 4 looks at anonymous accounts and how they amplify existing networks.”



Channel News Asia. “IMDA will develop a strong ICM sector that will power the economy: Yaacob

“The newly launched Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will lead Singapore into a digital future, Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Friday (Sep 30).”

See also:

The Straits Times. “Amendments to Telecommunications Act to be tabled ‘very soon’: Yaacob Ibrahim” ; “GovTech launched to lead digital transformation in public sector
MIS Asia: “IMDA to help Singapore thrive in the digital age
The Drum News: “Singapore forges closer ties between tech and media by merging government departments
Information Age. “The smart nation: Singapore’s masterplan


The Independent: “So what if The Straits Times is biased?

“Instead of levying claims of media bias against the state media or constantly trotting out the fact that Singapore ranks lowly in the Press Freedom Index, Singaporeans who care about freedom of information in the media should channel their efforts toward repealing the NPPA (Newspapers and Printing Presses Act of 1974).”



Fortify Rights. “Thailand: Drop Criminal Complaint Against Thai PBS

“Thai gold-mining company Tungkum Limited should drop all criminal proceedings against the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and four individuals employed and previously employed by Thai PBS, Fortify Rights said today. The Bangkok Criminal Court will consider the merits of the company’s complaints at hearings scheduled for today (3 October 2016) and October 10.”


Khaosod English: “Thai press must try to speak truth to military power

During Pravit Rojanaphruk’s lecture “Holding Governments and Journalists Accountable: Rights and Responsibilities of a Free Press in Thailand” at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government: “The press cannot be truly accountable to the public if it does not try to analyze and question the current militarization of Thai society because a militarized society is antithetical to a democratic and pluralistic society…. We must try to hold the junta accountable even though it’s very difficult, given the junta’s absolute power.”


Amnesty International. “Thailand: Denial of entry to Hong Kong student activist a new blow to freedom of expression

“The decision to deny Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong entry into Thailand underscores the government’s willingness to suppress the right to freedom of expression and raises serious concerns about how China is using its influence over Thai authorities, Amnesty International said today (5 October 2016).”


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). “Thailand: Immediately drop sedition case and all proceedings against human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri

“The Thai Government should immediately drop all proceedings against human rights lawyer, Sirikan Charoensiri, including the specious accusation of sedition, which apparently relate to her organization’s representation of 14 student activists peacefully protesting in June 2015, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an FIDH–OMCT partnership), Protection International (PI), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Fortify Rights, and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), said today (3 October 2016).”


Timor Leste

Star Tribune: “East Timor journalists face trial after story on premier

“Raimundos Oki and his former boss Lourenco Vicente Martins are charged with ‘slanderous denunciation’ and face up to three years in prison if found guilty. The trial is set to begin Friday (7 October 2016).”



VN Express International: “Vietnamese newspaper fights police in rare legal standoff, says reporter was attacked

“(Tran Quang) The, the reporter, has been fined VND14.4 million ($650) for a wide range of violations listed by the police, including trespassing in restricted areas, taking photographs in restricted areas, offending officers on duty, abusing a journalist’s status to intervene in legal processes, and illegal parking.”


Radio Free Asia: “Vietnam Sacked Editor After Publication of Blogger’s Corruption Reports

“Nguyen Nhu Phong, the editor of state-run website PetroTimes, was fired and stripped of his press card ‘for committing wrongdoing in press activities,’ the Ministry of Information and Communications said in a statement late Monday (3 October 2016).”


Channel News Asia: “Vietnam slashes jail term for dissident blogger

“A Ho Chi Minh City court slashed the sentence of a convicted blogger whose family helped the communist regime during the Vietnam War, his lawyer said Wednesday (Oct 5), a rare reprieve for a dissident in the authoritarian country.”

See also:

Radio Free Asia: “Vietnam Reduces Prison Sentence for Blogger
Committee to Protect Journalists: “Blogger’s prison sentence reduced, news site shuttered in Vietnam
Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Vietnam: Free Prominent Blogger




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

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