WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (13 – 19 August 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)

Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
[Cambodia] Joint Statement: Civil Society Calls for Immediate Release of Boeung Kak Lake Activists

See also:
The Phnom Penh Post: “NGOs call for release of Boeung Kak activists



The Cambodia Daily: “Media Mogul Declares Victory Over Government ‘Monkeys’

“The owner of Cambodia’s popular ABC radio station expressly declined to thank Prime Minister Hun Sen for donating three ‘intervention vehicles’ to the station’s humanitarian arm, likening the seizure and abrupt return of an unlicensed ABC ambulance to a war victory and describing government bureaucrats as ‘monkeys.'”



Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SafeNet): “[Press Release] SAFENET’s Statement on Current Condition in Indonesia

“In the past year, SafeNet recorded 11 activists were reported to the police for allegedly violating criminal provisions in the ITE (Information and Electronic Transactions) Law. The latest was Pospera’ s (Posko Perjuangan Rakyat) reporting of the Coordinator ForBALI, I Wayan “Gendo” Suardana on Monday, August 15, 2016. Gendo was reported to the police through Pospera’s Central Executive Board (DPP) and the Regional Leadership Council (DPD) with reports Number TBL / 584 / VIII / 2016 / Bareskrim.”

See also:
The Jakarta Post: “Netizens wary of libel suits under draconian ITE Law” ; “Medan man gets 14 months’ imprisonment for Facebook tag



Malay Mail Online: “Freedom of information? Penangites not interested now that they have access

“Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Prof P. Ramasamy, who is the state executive councillor in charge of FOI (freedom of information), said there were 71 applications last year, an average of six a month, since the FOI Enactment came into force in January 2015 and 47 up to June this year.”


U.S. News: “In Malaysia, Humor Is No Laughing Matter

“His office has been raided, his employees arrested and his books banned. His last publisher worked at night, unwilling to take a sample of his previous work, lest it be discovered. Yet political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, known to most as Zunar, refuses to put down his pens, providing cartoon commentary on the Malaysian government.”



Mizzima: “Fostering the Growth of the Fourth Estate

“…the NLD led government is saddled with huge expectations from ordinary people and the global community in its commitment to usher in a new era in terms of free and fair media. As such, representatives from the media industry, civil society, academia, international development community and NGOs came together in the months of February and May 2016 in Yangon[1] and discussed various aspects of media development in order to provide input to the new government in its effort to develop a comprehensive media development policy.”


The Irrawaddy. “Dateline Irrawaddy: ‘We Wanted to Challenge the Things that Other Women Couldn’t Do’

“We are seeing more women journalists in the newly revitalized media industry, thanks to democratization.”


Myanmar Times: “Challenge of criminalising hate speech

“U Aung Ko, the Minister of Culture and Religious Affairs, recently referred to plans for a new Hate Speech Law – which would criminalise verbal attacks on other religions besides Buddhism – being developed in consultation with ‘interfaith groups’ comprising members of Myanmar’s various religious communities. Such a law, whose precise contents are not yet known to the public, would empower ordinary citizens to report discriminatory speech.”



Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Motorist makes good on libel threat: For those who just ‘post and post’

“The man who was wrongly accused on social media as the motorist who killed a bicycle rider in Manila last month filed an online libel complaint against Top Gear Philippines, saying he wanted to teach the people behind the motoring website a lesson.”

See also:
Editorial: Online, out of line


VERA Files: “IS THAT SO? Marcosian state secrecy in Duterte’s FOI executive order

“President Rodrigo Duterte’s milestone executive order on freedom of information retains Macapagal and Marcosian relics. The repealing clause of Executive Order No. 2 issued July 23 poses a few noteworthy exceptions.”

See also:
Sun.Star Cebu. “FOI: Capitol, Cebu City, Mandaue regulate access to information



United Nations: “Teenage blogger trial ‘deeply worrying’ sign of Singapore’s attempts to curb free expression

“Concerned over increased criminalization of expression, a United Nations human rights expert today expressed serious concern about the upcoming trial of a 17-year old Singaporean for Facebook posts and blog comments that wounded the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians.”

See also:
The Nation: “Singaporean teen blogger heads back to court to face fresh charges
Straits Times: “Teenage blogger Amos Yee back in court


Reuters: “Singapore parliament passes controversial contempt of court bill

“Singapore’s parliament passed on Monday (15 August 2016) a bill spelling out what constitutes contempt of court, drawing criticism from rights groups, foreign diplomats and even the prime minister’s sister, who say the new law will suppress freedom of speech.”

See also:
Amnesty International. “Singapore: Contempt of court bill is a threat to freedom of expression


Channel News Asia: “Parliament passes Info-communications Media Development Authority Bill

“The Info-communications Media Development Authority Bill was passed in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 16), establishing the merger between the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Media Development Authority (MDA).”



Khaosod English: “Voice TV pressured to pull pundits for rattling junta

“Voice TV today pulled two well-known political commentators from programs it airs for 10 days beginning today (15 August 2016) under pressure from the military regime and telecommunications regulators.”


The Nation: “Premsak files libel complaint against Daily News website

“Khon Kaen’s Ban Phai Mayor Premsak Phiayura yesterday (13 August 2016) filed a libel complaint against Daily News website, insisting that he did not get married to a Mathayom 5 schoolgirl as reported on the website on July 25.”


Asian Correspondent: “Thai Junta launches special TV show to explain views to foreigners

“The English-language program, which airs on state-owned television station National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) and on YouTube, seeks to clarify the military’s moves and decisions via one-on-one interviews with top government leaders, and to provide insight into current developments in the kingdom.”


The Diplomat. “Thailand’s New Constitution: A Blow to Rights?

“Thailand’s ruling junta got what it wanted on August 7: the public approval of a constitution that will reinforce military rule in the country. The same constitution also contains provisions that could further curtail the people’s right to freedom of expression.”

See also:
United Nations: “Concerned by curbs on free expression in Thailand, UN rights office calls for ‘prompt return to civilian rule’



Vietnam Human Rights Defenders: “Vice President of Vietnam Independent Journalists Summoned for Petition against Police Torture

“Authorities in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi have summoned blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy, vice president of unsanctioned Independent Journalists Association of Vietnam (IJAVN) to a police agency to work on a petition against police torture.”



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

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