Weekly Media Roundup (12 – 18 May 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)

Alert:

[Philippines] Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): Volunteer reporter slain in Zamboanga del Sur shooting

 

Reports:

[Cambodia] VIDEO: Former Radio Free Asia Journalists Jailed in Media Crackdown

 

[Malaysia] Media restrictions continue ahead of elections

 

Statements:

[Malaysia]

Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ): “Pakatan Harapan must uphold Freedom of Expression and Independent Media, and Abolish the Anti-Fake News Act” 

See also:

Implement moratorium on these laws now” 

 

Statement: CIJ calls for upholding of freedom of expression both online and offline

 

[Thailand] Thai Journalists Association (TJA). “แถลงการณ์ร่วม | สมาคมนักข่าวนักหนังสือพิมพ์แห่งประเทศไทย และ สมาคมนักข่าววิทยุและโทรทัศน์ไทย | เรื่องยกเลิกคำสั่งพักใบอนุญาต Peace TV ลิดรอนเสรีภาพสื่อ – ขัดแย้งรัฐธรรมนูญ” 

 

General news

Facebook: “Facebook Publishes Enforcement Numbers for the First Time” 

“We’re often asked how we decide what’s allowed on Facebook — and how much bad stuff is out there. For years, we’ve had Community Standards that explain what stays up and what comes down. Three weeks ago, for the first time, we published the internal guidelines we use to enforce those standards. And today we’re releasing numbers in a Community Standards Enforcement Report so that you can judge our performance for yourself.” 

 

Southeast Asia

Ateneo de Manila University: “Privacy and data protection laws in Southeast Asia” 

“Today, there are now three (3) countries implementing comprehensive data protection laws in the Southeast Asian region, out of a total of 10. Of the remaining seven, two have ongoing efforts to draft and pass a legislation, while three have some relevant policies on privacy and data protection. No data was available for the rest, as of this writing.” 

 

Cambodia

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Southeast Asian Lawmakers Decry Buyout of Last Independent Daily, Media Crackdown in Cambodia” 

“‘It is the continuation of an unrelenting assault on press freedom,’ he added…. APHR (ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights) noted that restrictions on the media in Cambodia have come amid a wider crackdown on government criticism, which has included the dissolution of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in November and the arrest two months earlier of its president, Kem Sokha, on charges of treason. Kem Sokha’s continued detention has been declared arbitrary by the U.N.” 

See also:

Khmer Times. “NGOs: Free jailed RFA reporters” 

Voice of America (VOA) Khmer: “Sale of Cambodia’s Last Independent Newspaper Concerns Longtime Readers” 

Bangkok Post: (Opinion) “Why did a Malaysian buy ‘The Phnom Penh Post’?” 

The Japan Times: “New Phnom Penh Post owner defends ‘rocky start’ amid concerns over press freedom” 

Press Gazette: “Former Phnom Penh Post journalist describes state of press freedom in Cambodia as ‘dire’” 

Reuters: “New owner says will sustain legacy of Cambodian newspaper” 

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). “Cambodia: Release former Radio Free Asia journalists and drop all charges” 

Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Cambodia: Release Ex-Radio Free Asia Journalists” 

 

The Phnom Penh Post: “Arrest for lèse majesté violation” 

“A primary school teacher in Kampong Thom province was charged yesterday (13 May 2018) by the provincial court for allegedly violating the recently passed lèse majesté amendment and placed in pretrial detention, becoming the first to be charged by the controversial law…. Say Nora, spokesman for the Kampong Thom Provincial Court, confirmed the arrest, adding that the suspect, Kheang Navy, 50, the principal at Ta Hou Primary School in Stung Sen district, was charged with ‘insulting the King’ in violation of Article 437 of the amended Criminal Code.” 

See also:

Lèse majesté law under fire after teacher’s arrest” 

Associated Press (AP): “Cambodia makes 1st arrest on charges of insulting monarchy” 

Reuters: “Cambodia makes first arrest using new royal insult law” 

TIME: “Cambodia Has Made Its First Arrest Under a Repressive New Law” 

 

ABC: “Vietnamese hackers trigger software trap after Australian sale of newspaper in Cambodia” 

“A Vietnamese state-linked hacking group has used a Cambodian newspaper website to attack a local human rights organisation, according to a leading cyber security firm…. The attack started just days after Australian mining magnate Bill Clough sold the newspaper to Malaysian spin doctor Sivakumar Ganapathy, who specialises in ‘covert PR’.” 

See also: 

LICADHO (Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights): “LICADHO Clarifies Hacking Attack Report” 

 

Khmer Times: “PM urges media to help educate families” 

“Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday (15 May 2018) urged all media outlets to help disseminate information to parents about educating and giving good advice to their children…. In a message to mark International Day of Families, Mr Hun Sen asked the Social Affairs Ministry to cooperate with the Information Ministry and TV stations to organise a roundtable and produce an educational video about the value of families.” 

 

Indonesia

West Papua Daily: “Abusers against Jubi journalists will be prosecuted” 

“Two police officers of Nabire Police, who mistreated Jubi journalist Abraham Amoye You while covering the candidate debate of Deiyai election in Nabire on Saturday, 5 May 2018, will be prosecuted.” 

 

Laos 

The Nation: “Lao journalists are urged to inspire readers” 

“Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith last week urged media personnel to deliver news more accurately and promptly, saying that the passing of just one hour after an event occurred was rather slow in breaking the news…. In order for reporters to deliver the news more accurately and promptly, it is necessary to build a highly talented team that enjoys their work, he said.” 

 

Malaysia 

Associated Press (AP): “Malaysia’s new leader indicates anti-fake news law to stay” 

“New Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad indicated Sunday (13 May 2018) that his government will keep a controversial law banning fake news that he once slammed as a tool to curb dissent … Mahathir said in a televised broadcast that the law will be redefined to clearly specify what constitutes fake news.” 

See also:

Malaysiakini: “AG’s Chambers objects to Mkini’s fake news law challenge” ; “Journalists tell Harapan to abolish AFN, Nurul Izzah backs repeal” 

The Star Online: “Media can report what they like, says Dr M” 

The Straits Times: “Mahathir says anti-fake news law to get ‘proper’ definition; Malaysia has sufficient revenue to remove GST” 

Channel News Asia: “Concerns over Malaysian PM Mahathir’s backtrack on anti-fake news laws” 

Asian Correspondent: “Malaysia’s new PM assures press freedom, but with limits” 

Agence France-Presse (AFP): “Malaysian PM Mahathir vows to review ‘fake news’ law” 

Reuters: “Malaysia’s new government says to re-define fake news law, not abolish it” 

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ): “Malaysian elections bring hope for restoration of press freedom” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “RSF reminds Malaysia’s new premier of his press freedom pledges” 

 

Malaysiakini: “Millions tuned into Malaysiakini, KiniTV for GE14 results” 

“The nation was glued to Malaysiakini as the count progressed through the night. However, there was a noticeable lull in election results at around 9.30pm, at a time when most countings were said to be completed…. To make matters worse, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) issued an order to block Malaysiakini’s live.undi.info, which had over 1.3 million concurrent users at the time.” 

See also:

Study confirms Malaysiakini’s GE14 results page blocked” ; “MCMC explains why it blocked M’kini’s GE14 page” 

Sinar Project: “Internet Censorship Monitoring 14th Malaysian General Elections” 

 

The Star Online: “Repeal laws that curb media freedom, NUJ urges Government” 

“The National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJ) has urged the Government to keep its pledge to repeal the Printing, Presses and Publishing Act 1984 and other relevant laws that curb media freedom…. Its general-secretary Chin Sung Chew said such laws posed threats to journalists in the country.” 

See also:

Dr M: Party hoppers from Umno or BN will not be accepted into Pakatan” 

Malaysiakini: “NUJ reminds Harapan of promise to repeal PPPA in 100 days” 

 

The Sun Daily: “TV3 to pay Anwar RM1.1m for defamation (Updated)” 

“The High Court today (14 May 2018) awarded RM1.1 million in damages to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after winning his defamation suit against TV3…. The television station has been found to have defamed Anwar by linking him to the intrusion of Filipino militants at Lahad Datu in 2013.” 

See also:

Free Malaysia Today: “Anwar wins RM1.1 million in defamation suit against TV3” 

Malaysiakini: “TV3 ordered to pay Anwar RM1.1m for defamation” 

BERNAMA: “TV3 ordered to pay S$371k to Anwar for defamation” 

 

The Star Online: “Man arrested for allegedly insulting Dr M and Islam on Facebook” 

“The police have nabbed a man suspected of insulting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Islam on Facebook…. In a statement posted on the official Langkawi IPD Facebook page on Thursday (17 May 2018), police said that the suspect was arrested on Wednesday after several NGOs (non-governmental organisations) filed a police report against him the day before.” 

See also: 

Maria Chin: Arrests and police reports not in line with Pakatan’s policy of freedom of expression” 

 

Free Malaysia Today: “Travel ban on Zunar lifted” 

“Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, said the travel ban imposed on him was lifted today (14 May 2018) … In October 2016, Zunar was banned from flying to Singapore to attend a forum in the city-state…. Last November, the High Court dismissed his application to lift the travel ban and another application to refer his case directly to the Federal Court.” 

 

Malaysiakini: “Media Prima, Utusan execs step down post-GE14” 

“Media Prima Bhd has announced Mohd Ashraf Abdullah will end his tenure as group managing editor of news and current affairs at Media Prima Television Networks (MPTN), effective May 20, 2018…. With immediate effect, Manja Ismail, the deputy group managing editor of news and current affairs, will make the step up, MPTN said in a statement today (15 May 2018).” 

 

Myanmar 

Reuters: “Myanmar policeman denies planting documents on Reuters reporters” 

“A Myanmar policeman told a court on Wednesday (16 May 2018) he met two Reuters reporters on the night of their arrest in December, but denied giving them secret documents to incriminate them…. His testimony contradicted a previous witness who last week said police had ‘set up’ the pair…. ‘During my meeting with Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, I didn’t take anything from them and I didn’t give anything to them,’ Police Lance Corporal Naing Lin told Judge Ye Lwin, overseeing the hearing at a court in Yangon.” 

See also: 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “People need to know why our journalists were arrested in Myanmar, Reuters tells CPJ” 

 

Reuters: “Myanmar anti-war protester says police to lay more charges against him” 

“Athan, a free speech monitoring group, said that so far in May, 42 activists across the country have been charged for participating in rallies protesting the war in Kachin and other areas … ‘This is a clear and calculated attack on freedom of expression and right to assembly,’ said the organisation (Assistance Association for Political Prisoners) in a tweet.” 

See also:

Myanmar police to charge 17 anti-war protesters over demonstration” 

Frontier Myanmar: “Eight arrested in Yangon protest for end to Kachin violence

The Irrawaddy: “Two Protesters Arrested Under Peaceful Assembly Law in Mandalay” ; “Two Kachin Youth Leaders Fined for Organizing Protest Demanding Action on IDPs” 

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Press Council Denounces Threats Against Journalists Covering Antiwar Protest” 

 

Philippines

INQUIRER.net: “Radio blocktimer slain in Zamboanga del Sur ambush” 

“A radio blocktimer in this city was killed in an ambush in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur…. Marive Jongco, the provincial information officer, said Carlos Matas was killed in the ambush that took place in Barangay Nuburan past 3 p.m. Saturday (12 May 2018).” 

See also:

GMA News: “Local broadcast journalist killed in Zamboanga del Sur ambush” 

 

davaotoday.com: “Illegal radio stations in Davao region now 35” 

“The National Telecommunications Commission XI has reported (NTC) five additional illegal radio stations operating in the region…. Nelson Caňete, regional director of NTC-11 said two radio stations in Davao Oriental and one in Davao Occidental are operating illegally. He did not disclose details regarding the two other stations…. In January this year, NTC has recommended the issuance of cease and desist orders (CDOs) against 30 local radio stations in the Davao region for alleged illegal operation. According to their report, 10 are in Davao del Sur, five in Davao del Norte and the rest are in Davao Oriental and Compostella Valley province.” 

 

Smart Parenting. “JUST IN: Family of Teen Sues Ellen Adarna for Libel, Child Abuse and Cybercrime” 

“The family of Eleila Santos, the 17-year-old tagged by Ellen Adarna as paparazzi, has filed a case against the actress for child abuse, cybercrime, and libel this morning (15 May 2018) at the office of the city prosecutor of the Pasig City Hall, a family member and representative confirmed to Smartparenting.com.ph.” 

See also: 

Rappler.com: “Ellen Adarna silent on ‘paparazzi’ case” 

 

Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Online scammers prey on the lovestruck” 

“The PNP-ACG (Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group) spokesperson, Senior Insp. Artemio Cinco Jr., said 10 percent of internet fraud reported in the country in 2017 fell under the love or romance scam category.” 

See also: 

Victims of online love scams rising” 

 

Singapore

Associated Press (AP): “New Singapore Anti-Terror Law Can Order Media Blackout” 

“A new law that gives the police special powers during terrorist attacks, including widely banning journalists and members of the public from reporting on the scene, took effect in Singapore on Wednesday (16 May 2018)…. The law gives the police the power to block all communications on-site, ranging from photographs to videos, text and audio messages, for up to a month if authorities feel security operations could be compromised.” 

 

Thailand 

Statement of journalist Umesh Pandey

“I have been officially removed from the ‘Editor’ of Bangkok Post effective today (May 14, 2018) but as per the memo issued, I remain with the company in a different position.” 

See also: 

Khaosod English. “Editor removed for mismanagement – not junta pressure: Bangkok Post” 

Global Voices: “Was Bangkok Post editor Umesh Pandey fired for mismanagement or political pressure?” 

The Guardian: “Editor of Bangkok Post ‘forced to step down’ over coverage of government” 

Associated Press (AP): “Editor ousted for criticizing Thailand’s military government” 

 

Bangkok Post: (Editorial) “Censorship must go” 

“There seldom is an excuse to censor a Thai publication or broadcaster. The charge used to once again shut down the only popular outlet of a major political force is ludicrous. The NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) ban claimed that four news and analysis programmes could cause confusion or spark division. As in the past, the commission was unable to point to a single, actual case of confusion or division that could be traced even indirectly to Peace TV.” 

 

Khaosod English: “Punks arrested for insulting junta leaders at concert (video)” 

“Ten punk rock musicians were arrested Saturday (12 May 2018) for singing songs deemed insulting to the leaders of the ruling military junta…. Four members of The Blood Soaked Street Of Social Decay and six other punk rockers were taken into custody Saturday after singing songs berating Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan at Almost Four Years, You Motherfucker, a punk music event to commemorate four years of military rule. They also set an image of Prayuth aflame.” 

 

 

NOTE

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

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