WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (11 – 17 November 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)



Unggah status di Facebook, wartawan lokal di Timika dikeroyok polisi | Tiga kasus kekerasan di Papua dalam satu bulan (Local journalist beaten for Facebook post | Third incident of violence in Papua within a month)



Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI): 10th National Congress


General news

Freedom House: “Freedom of the Net 2017 | Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy

“Disinformation tactics contributed to a seventh consecutive year of overall decline in internet freedom, as did a rise in disruptions to mobile internet service and increases in physical and technical attacks on human rights defenders and independent media.”


Ethical Journalism Network (EJN): Free online course on ethical journalism

“There should be no journalism without ethics, particularly in a digital world, where there is a constant flow of information, much of which is false.”


Southeast Asia

GMA News: “Fake news a common concern among Southeast Asian countries — Asian rights group

“Despite varying socio-political climates, Southeast Asian countries are facing the same concern: the virulence of fake news…. Members of the Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition-Southeast Asia (AFEC-SEA) on Friday (17 November 2017) gathered for a Regional Fake News Conference in Dusit Thani Manila in Makati City to discuss the effects of fake news and propaganda in their countries.”

See also:

Media urged to strengthen role as watchdog against fake news, propaganda — UN special rapporteur” ; “Fake news undefined in Senate’s anti-fake news bill, group warns


philstar.com: “UN rapporteurs raise alarm on ASEAN rights problems

“In a statement dated November 10, the UN experts, while recognizing the ‘important work of the many active civil society organizations across the region,’ expressed concern over the ‘worrying deterioration in the environment’ where human rights defenders operate…. They also expressed dismay at the ‘increasing harassment and prosecutions’ of bloggers, journalists and social media users.”



The Phnom Penh Post: “Ex-RFA reporters detained in capital

“Two former Radio Free Asia reporters arrested on Tuesday (14 November 2017) night remained in detention at Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters yesterday evening, with authorities confirming that the pair were under investigation for allegedly sending news reports to the radio broadcaster…. The duo, Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, were first questioned by Meanchey district officials on Tuesday night for allegedly starting a karaoke production studio without the requisite permission, but officials yesterday confirmed that they were in fact under investigation for secretly working with RFA.”

See also:

Breaking: Police will charge former RFA reporters with ‘espionage’” ; “Breaking: Former RFA reporters detained by police
Khmer Times: “Former RFA reporters arrested


VOA: “Cambodian Netizens Face New Risks as Government Tightens Online Controls

“The rising online repression comes, however, amid a nationwide crackdown on political opposition and independent media ahead of the July 2018 national elections.”



The Malaysian Insight: “Mukhriz slams newspapers’ ethics

“Journalism ethics in Malaysia have plumbed new depths with personal posts becoming fodder for news, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir said today (13 November 2017)…. He was responding to two pro-Umno newspaper articles that reported on the lifestyle of his daughter, Meera Alyana Mukhriz.”

See also:

Daily Express: “Mukhriz denies daughter’s lifestyles funded through illicit wealth


Malaysiakini: “Police report lodged over post insulting Prophet Muhammad

“The Kuantan 4B Youth Movement today lodged a police report against the owner of a Facebook account under the name Asiah Abd Jalil for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad and his family.”

See also:

New Straits Times: “Report lodged against lawyer over FB post


SAYS: “Malaysia Is One Of The 30 Countries That Pay Cybertroopers To Control Online Discussions

“According to the study, Malaysia is one of the 30 countries that have been found to employ ‘keyboard armies’ or cybertroopers, to spread propaganda and attack critics”



Myanmar Times: “Press council refuses request to aid jailed journalist

“The Myanmar Press Council (MPC) denied on Sunday (12 November 2017) a request from the representative of a local reporter, jailed with two foreign journalists, to renegotiate his case…. The MPC replied that it could not consider the demand from the journalist’s representative as the request has to come directly from the person being sued.”

See also:

TRT World: “Myanmar jails TRT World crew for two months over ‘unlicensed drone’
Mizzima: “Myanmar jails film crew for 2 months over drone use


Daily Beast: “Why Is the U.S. Government Funding Anti-Rohingya Propaganda?

“As debate simmers internationally about whether the attacks amount to genocide, most Burmese media have either ignored reports of atrocities or joined in with a propaganda campaign aimed at branding the Rohingya terrorists, denying the legitimacy of their ethnic name, and reinforcing the false belief that they are illegal immigrants.”



The Washington Post: “Trump chuckled as Duterte called journalists ‘spies.’ That’s no joke in the Philippines.

“Hearing the Philippine president (Rodrigo Duterte) once again demonize journalists — and seeing (United States President Donald) Trump chuckle in response — struck a nerve among journalists and activists in the Philippines and beyond.”

See also:

Rappler.com: “Duterte tells reporters covering Trump meeting, ‘You are spies’
philstar.com: “Duterte calling media ‘spies’ gets chuckles from Trump
CNN: “Donald Trump laughed when Rodrigo Duterte called the media ‘spies.’ Not good.
Huffington Post: “Trump Laughs As Philippine Leader Duterte Calls Journalists ‘Spies’


BusinessMirror: “EV media accuse PNP of curtailing media rights and mass discrimination

“Reporters and broadcasters in Eastern Visayas are crying foul over alleged ‘discrimination’ at the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office preventing media practitioners from accessing information in violation of the Freedom of Information order signed this year…. The journalists were also accusing PNP Regional Director PC/Supt. Gilberto Cruz of wanting direct control of the PNP press corps when it nullified the election of the new set of officers and a newly ratified constitution and bylaws of the organization.”


Rappler.com: “Premier Li tells Philippine media, China welcomes you

“Chinese Premier Li Keqiang amused Filipino reporters when he said China’s doors are open to Philippine media…. Li, who was on an official visit to the Philippines, said this in his joint statement with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Wednesday, November 15.”


InterAksyon. “‘A VERY MINOR BLOGGER’ | Watch: Du30 supporter Sass Sasot confronts journo over BBC feature on PAB’s Jover Laurio

“Staunch Duterte supporter and blogger Sass Rogando Sasot confronted British Broadcasting Corp. Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head Monday (13 November 2017) afternoon at the International Media Center in Pasay City, where local and foreign reporters were covering the ASEAN Summit, raising questions about BBC supposedly giving a ‘minor blogger’ and Duterte critic Jover Laurio a platform on the international media network.”

See also:

philstar.com: “Pro-Duterte blogger confronts BBC journalist for ‘not covering her’


GMA News: “PHL gov’t paying ‘keyboard army’ P500 a day to ‘amplify’ public support for drug war —watchdog

“A US-based human rights watchdog has claimed that the Philippine government has been employing what it called a ‘keyboard army’ that is specifically paid to make it appear the Duterte administration’s controversial and deadly war on drugs has been gaining widespread public support…. A study of internet freedom in 65 countries by human rights group Freedom House found 30 governments are deploying some form of manipulation to distort online information, up from 23 the previous year.”

See also:

InterAksyon: “GOV’T FUNDS BEING USED TO SPREAD FAKE NEWS? | Alejano wants to verify U.S. watchdog report on alleged Du30 ‘keyboard army’
Rappler.com: “PCOO does not hire ‘keyboard army’ – Andanar” ; “PH ‘keyboard army’ drumming up support for drug war – report
MindaNews: “‘Keyboard army’ amplifying impression of support for Duterte’s drug war — report


SunStar Davao: “NUJP pushes for safety mechanism for journalists

“Considering the risk that journalists face, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) is pushing for the full implementation of United Nation (UN) Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists, a safety mechanism to address threats and advancement of press freedom.”


AlterMidya. “Media Literacy 101: The Alternative Press and Media

“Conventional wisdom assumed that the alternative press was a new development in the Philippine media.  But the alternative press tradition is of long-standing, and goes back to the propaganda and revolutionary periods of Philippine history, when such publications as Marcelo H. Del Pilar’s Diariong Tagalog and La Solidaridad, and later, the Katipunan’s Kalayaan were published to provide information on the true state of the country under Spanish rule.”



The Spuddings Blog: “We need to talk about the Official Secrets Act

“This overzealous use of the Official Secrets Act gives the government too much of a monopoly on information. It also gives bureaucrats something to hide behind instead of being open and accountable to the people; I’ve seen all sorts of communications from government agencies and civil servants marked as ‘classified’ or ‘confidential’, even when there isn’t a need for it to be so…National security is important, but ‘national security’ can also be used as an excuse to cover up all manner of sins…Couple this with other laws and regulations, either existing or looming on the horizon, and we get an even more worrying picture of freedom of information, free speech and press freedom in Singapore.”



Bangkok Post: “Thailand’s internet freedom ‘in decline’

“Thailand has been branded ‘not free’ for internet freedom for the fourth consecutive year in the latest Freedom on the Net report.”


Khaosod English: “Pravit Rojanaphruk receives Press Freedom Award

“Khaosod English senior staff reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk was presented a prestigious press award Wednesday (15 November 2017) by an American organization dedicated to the freedom of journalists worldwide…. The Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, presented Pravit the International Press Freedom Award at a gala dinner in New York, as recognition of his outspoken work denouncing the repression of free speech and persecution suffered by journalists in Thailand.”

See also:

Columbia Journalism Review: “Where doing journalism means ‘breaking the law’
BenarNews. “Free Press Can Help Heal Thailand’s Divisions: Awardee



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

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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