Weekly Media Roundup (10 – 16 November 2018)

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) 


[Philippines] SEAPA denounces gov’t indictment of Rappler on tax evasion charges

See also: 

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): “DOJ indicts Maria Ressa, Rappler Holdings Co. for tax evasion” 



IFEX: “88 rights groups call for Facebook to implement appeals process for removed content” 



[Regional] SEAPA @ 20: Looking back, moving forward amid challenging times for press freedom

[Cambodia] Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM): “CCIM Produced ‘Best Practices Guide for Citizen Journalism Projects’” 



JADE Network. “Call for Proposals: Internews’ EJN & SEAPA Environmental Story Grants” 


Southeast Asia 

The Diplomat: “A Grim Reality for Internet Freedom in Asia” 

“Global internet freedom has declined for an eighth consecutive year, according to Freedom on the Net 2018, and the negative trend was most evident in Asia. The region led the world in intentional internet disruptions, egregious criminal penalties for online activities, and violence triggered by online disinformation. Indeed, score improvements in Asia were hard to come by, as authorities in China, the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom, actively propagated their techno-dystopian model both at home and abroad…. The internet became less free in nine Asian countries during the past year, contributing to a global decline that affected 26 of the 65 countries under review. Only three countries in the region improved, and the scores of two remained unchanged. The majority of declines were related to issues including privacy, surveillance, violence, arrests, and prosecutions.” 


Nikkei Asian Review: “Cyberattack response site to be launched by Japan and ASEAN” 

“Japan and the 10 members of ASEAN will create a dedicated website for sharing information on cyberattacks, enabling the rapid dissemination of material related to techniques and effective responses…. The goal is to help Association of Southeast Asian Nations members better cope and contain the damage. The site will be accessible via two-step verification only to officials overseeing cybersecurity in each country.” 



Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Journalists in Cambodia – persecution and hell” 

“Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin spent more than nine months in prison just for being journalists in Cambodia. On the first anniversary of their arrest, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is releasing their video account of the hellish conditions they suffered in detention and the ordeal they continue to endure today (14 November 2018).” 



The Jakarta Post: “Defamation convict allegedly harassed multiple times by superior” 

“The Supreme Court’s decision to find Baiq Nuril guilty of defaming her former superior on Friday (9 November 2018) has sparked criticism among activists who argue that Baiq is in fact a victim of sexual harassment from her boss, a former headmaster, and should therefore not be punished…. Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) said on its official Twitter account @safenetvoice on Tuesday that H. Muslim, the former headmaster, had contacted Baiq by phone several times.” 



The Star: “Film Censorship Board can come under Communications Ministry, says Gobind” 

“The Communications and Multimedia Ministry has no qualms about having the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) come under its jurisdiction…. Its minister Gobind Singh Deo said he is prepared to speak to Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin about it.” 



Amnesty International: “Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty’s highest honor” 

“Amnesty International announced today (12 November 2018) that it has withdrawn its highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Aung San Suu Kyi, in light of the Myanmar leader’s shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for…. On 11 November, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi to inform her the organization is revoking the 2009 award. Half way through her term in office, and eight years after her release from house arrest, Naidoo expressed the organization’s disappointment that she had not used her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar, citing her apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression.” 



Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, Inc. (AIJC): “National effort to address safety of journalists in the Philippines off to good start” 

“The first national multi-stakeholder consultation on the crafting of a Philippine plan of action on journalist safety took place in Manila on 7 November where civil society, government officials, media and academia gathered to improve the safety of journalists in the Philippines…. The meeting saw active participation of more than 80 representatives from 48 civil society, research agencies, media organizations and government institutions, indicating broad support for solving the challenge of safety of journalists.” 


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “100,000 Filipinos affected by data breach that hit airline” 

“The personal data of over 100,000 Filipinos, including passport and credit card information, were compromised in a data breach at Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways earlier this year…. The National Privacy Commission (NPC) said the data breach was first detected in March and confirmed in May this year, but Cathay Pacific informed the NPC only on Oct. 25 that Filipinos were affected.” 


The Philippine Star: “Facebook election war room gears up for Philippines polls” 

“Social media company Facebook is gearing up its ‘elections war room’ for the midterm polls in the Philippines next year…. Monika Bickert, Facebook’s global head of policy management, said the team they created to address possible misuse and abuse of the social media platform during the recently held elections in Brazil and the United States is preparing for the upcoming polls in the Philippines and other countries in the region.” 


The Philippine Star: “‘Ang Probinsyano’ is purely fictional, network assures PNP chief” 

“The TV show ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ is fictional and is not meant to disparage the Philippine National Police, ABS-CBN said after Director General Oscar Albayalde, PNP chief, complained of its supposedly negative portrayal of cops.” 

See also: 

ABS-CBN News: “PNP chief raises concern over portrayal of police corruption in ‘Ang Probinsyano’” 



Channel NewsAsia. “‘We do not have a policy that prohibits alleged falsehoods’: Facebook on why it did not take down States Times Review post” 

“Social media giant Facebook on Tuesday (Nov 13) explained why it did not accede to Singapore authorities’ request to take down a States Times Review post linking Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong with 1MDB investigations…. “We have a responsibility to handle any government request to restrict alleged misinformation carefully and thoughtfully, consistent with our approach to government requests around the world. We do not have a policy that prohibits alleged falsehoods, apart from in situations where this content has the potential to contribute to imminent violence or physical harm,’ a Facebook spokesman said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.” 

See also: 

TODAY: “Facebook will remove false information ‘only if it leads to voter suppression, or threat of violence’” 

Asia Times: “Singapore’s fake news debate wrapped in 1MDB controversy” 

Community Action Network, Singapore: “Cease investigations of States Times Review and its editor” 


The Straits Times: “Analogue TV will go off air in less than 50 days” 

“With under 50 days to go until analogue TV signals are turned off, most Singapore households have switched to digital TV – though around a fifth have still yet to do so…. From Jan 1 next year, analogue TV signals will be disabled – meaning households that have not switched to digital television (DTV) will no longer be able to watch Mediacorp’s free-to-air programmes.” 



South China Morning Post (SCMP): “Young Thai rappers deliver blistering critiques of ruling junta, defying strict censorship” 

“Thailand’s hip-hop scene used to be anodyne, imitating the swagger – and profanity – of its American forefather but not the socially charged lyrics. But that has started to change as pugnacious, political rhymes replace the bubblegum verses, taking swipes at the ruling junta and the kingdom’s sharp social hierarchies…. YouTube videos by teens and schoolchildren in uniform – some as young as 12 – have garnered massive social media followings.” 



Al Jazeera: “Digital dictatorship in Vietnam seeks to silence dissidents” 

“Inside Vietnam, historically information flowed from the top down via state-run media, but with the rise of blogging and social media platforms now the news flows horizontally with bloggers and journalists writing and sharing news independently…. Reporters Without Borders’ 2018 World Press Freedom Index ranks Vietnam 175 out of 180 countries – one point ahead of China. Freedom House says Vietnam is not free…. But unlike in China, access to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in Vietnam isn’t blocked. Under its new cybersecurity law, the Vietnamese government requested these US tech companies to open offices inside the country to store its data locally.” 


Quartz: “Vietnam’s Lady Gaga is pressuring Facebook to stop complying with censorship laws” 

“At the Oslo Freedom Forum in Taipei, Khoi opened her talk with a performance of her song ‘Vietnam,’ which urged her fellow citizens to ‘step out from the fear’ and ‘raise our voice, speak, sing, scream….’ Now 34 years old, (Mai) Khoi is trying to use her celebrity to pressure Facebook to stop complying with, and instead push back against, government censorship.” 


Voice of America (VOA): “‘Mother Mushroom’ to Receive Press Freedom Award” 

“The Vietnamese blogger known as ‘Mother Mushroom’ will be honored with an International Press Freedom Award on November 20 in New York City … The Committee to Protect Journalists announced the award winners last June.” 



All information and materials in this roundup are for general information and use only and do not constitute any advice or recommendation. 

All information and materials in this roundup are provided in good faith. Except for the information produced by SEAPA, we are not responsible for the contents or reliability of linked websites and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. We have no control over availability of the linked websites.

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