WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (13 – 19 January 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] JOINT STATEMENT. We Stand with Rappler, We Stand with Philippine Journalists

See also:

Alert: Government orders shutdown of online news outlet
Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): “SEC Revokes Rappler’s Incorporation Paper Months after Duterte’s Threat of Investigation” ; “For Freedom’s Sake: Stand with Rappler
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “We Stand With Rappler
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ): “Stand by Rappler, stay tuned
IFEX: “#StandWithRappler as Philippine government agency revokes license of news website

 

Statements:

[Indonesia]

Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists): “AJI Jakarta: Upah Layak Jurnalis Pemula di Jakarta 2018 Rp7,96 juta (AJI Jakarta: Decent Wage for Starting Journalists in Jakarta for 2018 is 7,96 million IDR)”

 

Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) and Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI): “Suara bersama Geramm dan Aliansi Jurnalis Independen AJI Indonesia dalam isu gangguan seksual terhadap wartawan wanita (On allegations of sexual harassments by elected government officials against female journalists in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines)”

 

[Philippines]

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “‘Responsible exercise’ of freedom of speech, expression and the press enshrines prior restraint

 

General news

Facebook. “News Feed FYI: Bringing People Closer Together

“Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships. One of the ways we do this is by connecting people to meaningful posts from their friends and family in News Feed. Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about.”

See also:

News Feed FYI: Helping Ensure News on Facebook Is From Trusted Sources

 

Southeast Asia

BuzzFeed News: “The Press Is Under Attack In Southeast Asia And It’s Only Going To Get Worse

“From Vietnam to Indonesia, press freedom in Southeast Asia is deteriorating, rights groups say, spurred by the rise of authoritarian governments and enabled by the Trump administration’s relative indifference to human rights issues.”

See also:

The Diplomat: “The Rapid Rise of Censorship in Southeast Asia
South China Morning Post (SCMP). “Malaysiakini, Rappler: Attacked just when they are needed most
Bangkok Post. Opinion: “Rappler not the only victim of state bullying
Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). “Southeast Asia’s Press Freedoms Collapse: 2018 Could Be Worse for Southeast Asian Democracy Than 2017

 

Asian Correspondent: “Female journalists, male politicians and the epidemic of sexual harassment in Asean

“Speaking to Asian Correspondent, female journalists in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines spoke of the same culture of unwanted sexual behaviour by the male politicians they interview, from innuendos and lewd texts to the more serious, such as groping and forcible kissings…testimonies from these journalists speak of a sexual harassment culture in Southeast Asia that is more normalised, without impunity and sanctioned by the bigwigs of the media industry where senior male editors condone, or in some cases, encourage such behaviour.”

 

Cambodia

The Guardian: “Australian film-maker accused of spying in Cambodia says journalism ‘not a crime’

“An Australian filmmaker accused of spying in Cambodia has called upon the federal government to defend his right to free speech after a Phnom Penh court postponed his appeal for bail…. No reason was given for the delay in the James Ricketson case on Wednesday (17 January 2018).”

 

Indonesia

Jakarta Globe. “Journalists in Jakarta Are Being Paid Too Little: AJI

“The Jakarta branch of Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists, or AJI, urged the country’s press council on Sunday (14/01) to raise the minimum wage of journalists working in the capital…. AJI Jakarta sent a survey in December to 31 national and international media publications in the capital that asked respondents how well their wages covered their basic needs, the organization said in a statement…. The survey found most wages for journalists working in Jakarta to be insufficient.”

See also:

The Jakarta Post: “Journalists underpaid, lack protection: AJI Jakarta

 

New Mandala: “Disinformation and democracy in Indonesia

“‘Fake news’ has become a buzzword in the contemporary political lexicon around the world. In Indonesia, there has been significant concern about the so-called rise of berita hoax (‘hoax news’) in the aftermath of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election.”

 

Malaysia

The Malaysian Times: “NUJ chief under fire for asking journalists not to dress ‘sexy’

“National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJ) president Mohd Taufek Razak has come under fire over his statement on sexual harassment experienced by female journalists…. NUJ president Mohd Taufek Razak had said that female reporters should not wear ‘too revealing or sexy’ clothing. He was responding to an Asian Correspondent article that detailed how female journalists in Malaysia have been sexually harassed by politicians.”

See also:

Malaysiakini. “Sexual harassment: Union chief tells female reporters not to dress sexy
The Star Online. “Sexual harassment: NUJ chief slammed for victim-blaming statement

 

Sarawak Report: “Without A Free Media Malaysia Will Slide Backwards Fast …. Opinion

“If Malaysia loses its internationally acclaimed, multiple award-winning independent news website Malaysiakini, then the slide backwards into non-developed status will accelerate apace.”

See also:

Malaysiakini: “Day 8 – Malaysiakini hits two-thirds of defence fund target
The Independent: “Malaysiakini Appeals to Public to Help Fund Defamation Suit

 

Myanmar

TIME: “‘It’s Dangerous to Write the Truth.’ Journalists Fear the End of Press Freedom in Myanmar

“For local journalists, reporting on such sensitive issues is fraught with insecurity. The country’s first civilian government in 50 years has shown itself just as willing as its military predecessors to pursue punitive charges against journalists investigating conflict or corruption. Reporters Without Borders ranked Myanmar 131 out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index.”

See also:

Pacific Standard: “Inside Myanmar’s dangerous media repression campaign

 

Reuters: “Veteran U.S. diplomat Richardson to work for Reuters reporters release

“Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said on Monday (15 January 2018) he would work toward securing the release of two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar in his capacity as a member of an international advisory board on the crisis in Rakhine state.”

 

Frontier Myanmar: “Firebrand foreign media critic Aung Hla Tun appointed Deputy Information Minister

“The Union government appointed veteran journalist U Aung Hla Tun as Deputy Minister for Information, elevating a strident critic of foreign media as the country reels from international condemnation over last year’s crisis in Rakhine State…. The President’s Office announced the new post for Aung Hla Tun, a 20-year employee of the UK-based international news wire Reuters and a former chairman of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Myanmar, in a statement on Monday (15 January 2018) night.”

 

Frontier Myanmar: “The NLD’s disappointing record on media freedom

“Taking all into consideration, media freedom has deteriorated under the NLD (National League for Democracy) government.”

 

Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB): “Michael Kyaw Myint sentenced to 9 months for defamation

“Activist Michael Kyaw Myint was today (18 January 2018) sentenced to nine months imprisonment for defamation, found guilty of falsely accusing an associate of the Yangon chief minister of accepting a bribe…. A Yangon judge sentenced him to six months in jail under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law – online defamation – with an additional three months for issuing a ‘wrongful accusation’ – an offence under Burma’s penal code.”

 

Philippines

Rappler.com: “Aguirre orders NBI to probe Rappler

“Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has formalized his order to investigate Rappler for ‘possible violation of the Constitution and laws….’ Aguirre signed on Wednesday, January 17, Department Order Number 017 authorizing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a case buildup against Rappler.”

See also:

SEC revokes Rappler’s registration” ; “Stand with Rappler, defend press freedom” ; “Rappler still free to continue operations – SEC” ; “Roque says Rappler can still cover Malacañang” ; “Duterte calls Rappler ‘fake news outlet’” ; “From Marcos to Duterte: How media was attacked, threatened” ; “Aguirre looks for ‘other laws’ violated by Rappler” ; “NBI: Rappler can be liable for cyber libel despite non-retroactive law
ABS-CBN News: “Duterte on Rappler shutdown order: ‘I never had a hand’
GMA News: “Press freedom not curtailed by SEC decision on Rappler — NPC” ; “Philippine Press Institute, Probe throw support behind Rappler
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Mocha on Rappler shutdown order: ‘Feels like Christmas’” ; “Duterte, Rappler clash over fake news, press freedom” ; “Duterte: Elite owners are using media to protect their own interests” ; “Press freedom wears black in media rallies
The Philippine Star: “Roque: Rappler shutdown not attack on press freedom” ; “National Press Club sees no repression in revoked Rappler registration” ; “Duterte: I was not behind Rappler shutdown order
CNN Philippines: “Rappler to file appeal on license revocation at CA” ; “SEC chair: We won’t go after other media firms with depositary receipts
VERA Files. “VERA FILES FACT SHEET: SEC revocation of Rappler’s registration explained
InterAksyon: “MEL STA.MARIA | Why the SEC decision closing Rappler is wrong, seriously undermines press freedom
The Jakarta Post: “Rappler Indonesia to soldier on despite license revocation
Nikkei Asian Review. Viewpoints: “Attack on Rappler imperils media freedom
BBC News: “Why Rappler is raising Philippine press freedom fears
The New York Times: “EDITORIAL | After Killing Spree, Is a Free Press Mr. Duterte’s Next Victim?
NPR. Opinion: “A ‘Fraught Time’ For Press Freedom In The Philippines

 

Newsbytes.PH: “TV5 closing down news website InterAksyon.com

“After a brief seven-year run, local news website InterAksyon.com will formally cease its operations this year, Newsbytes.PH has learned…. The closure comes after a drastic makeover unveiled by its mother company TV5 in October last year when it announced a major partnership with US sports channel ESPN. The PLDT-owned broadcast station is currently headed by basketball coach Vincent ‘Chot’ Reyes.”

See also:

Philippine Daily Inquirer: “TV5’s InterAksyon.com ceasing operation in March — exec
BusinessWorld: “Mediaquest may consolidate online news publications
Rappler.com: “TV5 shutting down news website InterAksyon
philstar.com: “NUJP calls for better conditions, job security for media workers

 

CNN Philippines: “House body wants amendment to free speech

“Free speech is no longer absolute under a constitutional amendment proposed by a group of lawmakers…. They want to protect only the ‘responsible exercise’ of free speech and expression as there has been ‘so much abuse’ of this provision.”

See also:

ABS-CBN News. “Inserting ‘responsible’ abridges free speech: CMFR
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “New charter to protect only ‘responsible exercise’ of speech freedom” ; “‘Responsible exercise’ of free speech pushed in proposed bill of rights
Rappler.com: “House sub-committee wants limited protection for free speech
SunStar Manila: “House panel wants to curtail freedom of speech
InterAksyon: “NUJP, PCIJ urge untrammeled exercise of press freedom
MindaNews: “Castro says proposal to amend Consti guarantee of free press, speech came from Palace; Pimentel says no need to amend

 

Rappler.com: “86% of Filipinos say news reports are accurate – U.S. think tank

“Up to 86% of Filipinos believe news reports are accurate while 78% say journalists cover politics fairly, according to a new survey by US-based Pew Research Center…. The Philippines ranks second among 38 countries in terms of fairness and accuracy, the Spring 2017 Global Attitudes Survey of Pew Research Center said.”

 

Manila Bulletin: “PH is Southeast Asia’s most attacked nation in cyberspace — expert

“An international digital technology expert said the Philippines is the most attacked country in cyberspace in Southeast Asia and among the top in the world…. However, Filipinos are quite not ready for the cyber security threats as other foreign nationals with the country ranking 37th out of 193 countries in the recent global security index report on cyber security preparedness.”

 

MindaNews. “Duterte on ‘Comfort Women’ monument: it’s freedom of expression

“…on the issue of the recently-installed ‘Comfort Women’ monument along Roxas Boulevard in Metro Manila, for which the Japanese government expressed regret, Duterte said he cannot stop the relatives or the surviving ‘comfort women’ from exercising their constitutional right to express their sentiments through the statue.”

 

INQUIRER.net. “Maria Ozawa slams TNV drivers for stalking, sharing personal number: ‘I love PH but people are so unprofessional’

“Maria Ozawa slammed ride-hailing drivers’ unprofessional behavior after experiencing incidents of stalking and even sharing of her mobile phone number.”

 

Singapore

The Straits Times: “Proposed law must balance effectiveness and liberties

“Circumscribing the scope of any proposed law on fake news helps address concerns of those who fear such laws can curb freedom of speech and expression or be used to silence political dissent…. In enacting such a law, the authorities will have to strike a balance between effective laws and maintaining liberties.”

See also:

The News Lens: “Does Singapore Really Need a ‘Fake News’ Law?

 

The Straits Times: “Two Android TV box sellers taken to court

“Pay-TV operators Singtel and StarHub, entertainment titan Fox Networks Group and football’s Premier League have hauled two Android TV box sellers in Singapore to court in an unprecedented move against piracy…. In court yesterday, retail firm Synnex Trading and its director Jia Xiaofeng, and trading firm An-Nahl and its director Abdul Nagib Abdul Aziz faced several charges, in what could be a landmark case to determine the legality of media streaming boxes.”

 

Thailand

Prachatai English: “Police accuses Ekkachai of computer crime

“The police have summoned Ekkachai Hongkangwan, anti-junta activist and former lese majeste prisoner, for posting pornographic content online. The charge came after the activist vocally scrutinised Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Junta’s No.2…. On 16 January 2018, four police officers gave Ekkachai Hongkangwan a summon at his house The warrant orders Ekkachai to report to the Technology Crime Suppression Division on 19 January to hear a computer crime accusation against him.”

 

The Nation: “Lese majeste charges against Sulak dropped

“A lese majeste charge in military court against social critic Sulak Sivaraksa was dropped on Wednesday (17 January 2018)…. The 84-year-old scholar faced the charge after questioning the historical accuracy of the story of King Naresuan’s victorious elephant battle more than four centuries ago.”

See also:

Bangkok Post: “Prosecutors drop lese majeste charges against Sulak
NPR: “Thai Officials Want To Silence Critics, Scholar Charged With Insulting Monarchy
Prachatai English. “Sulak’s dropped lèse majesté charges: not good news to Thailand’s free speech

 

Vietnam

Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Vietnam: Drop Charges Against Nguyen Van Oai

“Vietnam should drop charges of violating probation against the veteran human rights activist Nguyen Van Oai and allow him to go home, Human Rights Watch said today (14 January 2018). The People’s Court of Nghe An province will hear his appeal on January 15, 2018.”

 

NOTE

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.

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