Weekly Media Roundup (14 – 20 July 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)



National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): Broadcaster gunned down in Albay

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): Radio Blocktimer Shot Dead in Albay


NUJP on AFP’s barring of journalists from covering mass evacuation of Lumad in Surigao



IFEX. “Lessons in Resistance: Defying repression and impunity in Cambodia” 



IFEX. “2018 Focus Group: Gender, Sexual Diversity & Freedom of Expression” 


General news 

Bloomberg: “A global guide to state-sponsored trolling” 

“In response to revolutions and social movements launched on Twitter and Facebook, national governments initially censored content, blocked access to social media and used surveillance technology to monitor their citizens. But it turned out to be far more effective to simply inundate the platforms with a torrent of disinformation and anonymized threats—what the researchers dubbed a strategy of ‘information abundance’ made possible by the rapid spread of social media.” 

See also: 

Institute for the Future: “How Governments Are Deploying Disinformation as Part of Broader Digital Harassment Campaigns” 



The Star Online: “Call to free journos from Parliament ‘dungeon’” 

“Journalists have joined the call by Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran for the new Speaker of Parliament to review the ruling banning reporters from the lobby of Dewan Rakyat and restricting media access.” 

See also: 

Kula: New Speaker must review ‘dungeon’ ruling for journalists covering Parliament” 

Malay Mail: “HR minister pushes freedom for press in Parliament to show democracy alive” 

The Sun Daily: “Don’t restrict journalists to ‘dungeon’ in Parliament, says Kula” 


Free Malaysia Today: “Keeping free speech separate from internet regulation” 

“A human rights campaigner has urged the government to form a task force of officials and concerned citizens for discussions on changes to the Communications and Multimedia Act…. Dobby Chew of the Suaram group said the communications act was outdated, having been created in 1998 when the internet was still young.” 



Reuters. “Myanmar police insisted on meeting, gave documents: Reuters reporter” 

“A Reuters reporter accused of obtaining secret state documents in Myanmar told a court on Monday (16 July 2018) a policeman had called him on the day he was arrested and insisted on a meeting, at which the officer abruptly handed some papers to him and a colleague…. In the first detailed account to the court from either of the journalists of the night they were arrested, Wa Lone told the judge that Police Lance Corporal Naing Lin had called him at least twice on Dec. 12 and said they needed to meet that day, even though it was already after office hours.” 

See also: 

Myanmar police focused interrogation on Rohingya story: Reuters journalist” 

Myanmar Times: “Reuters journalist recounts day of arrest” 

The New York Times: “Jailed Reporter in Myanmar Challenges Prosecution’s Version of His Arrest” 

The Interpreter: “Myanmar’s fourth estate” 


Nikkei Asian Review: “Facebook to remove posts sparking violence in emerging Asia” 

“Facebook will start taking down posts with misinformation that could incite violence in emerging countries, the company said on Wednesday (18 July 2018), addressing criticism of its slow response to potentially dangerous content…. The policy will be implemented in the coming months in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, where rumors circulated on the American social media platform have been said to contribute to deadly sectarian violence.” 



INQUIRER.net: “Radio broadcaster gunned down in Albay” 

“A radio anchor was shot dead Friday (20 July 2018) morning by still unidentified gunmen in Daraga town, Albay…. Based on the report reaching Bicol police headquarters, local radio station DWZR’s Joey Llana was leaving home for work around 5 a.m., maneuvering his car out of the home garage in Barangay Peñafrancia, when the suspects suddenly emerged and attacked him.” 

See also: 

philstar.com: “Gov’t, media group condemn killing of Albay journalist” 

Rappler.com: “Radio announcer shot dead in Albay” 

CNN Philippines: “Radio broadcaster gunned down in Albay on his way to work” 

Manila Bulletin: “Palace ‘strongly’ condemns killing of radio anchor in Albay” 


Rappler.com: “Court junks libel case filed by Chavit Singson vs ‘Newsbreak 5’” 

“A Vigan City court junked an 11-year-old libel case filed by then-Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson against 3 editors, a senior writer, and a board member of the award-winning Newsbreak magazine in 2006…. Acting Presiding Judge Corpus Alzate of Vigan City Regional Trial Court Branch 21 handed down this decision on Tuesday, July 17.” 


University of the Philippines: “Call for 2018 Lopez Jaena Community Journalism fellows extended” 

“The application for Fellowship to the 22nd Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop is extended until July 27, 2018.” 



Asia Times: “Free expression in the dock in Singapore” 

“Two Facebook posts are under the microscope this week in Singapore as lawyers present opposing arguments to the island state’s High Court in the first proceedings to take place under a new contempt of court law that came into force in 2017 … At the time, critics argued that the legal change would have serious implications for freedom of speech in Singapore. Almost two years later, those concerns are being put to a legal test as lawyers on Tuesday (17 July 2018) argued the change was unconstitutional.” 


Channel News Asia: “Singapore health system hit by ‘most serious breach of personal data’ in cyberattack; PM Lee’s data targeted” 

“The ‘most serious breach of personal data’ in Singapore’s history took place last month, with 1.5 million SingHealth patients’ records accessed and copied while 160,000 of those had their outpatient dispensed medicines’ records taken, according to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Communications and Information…. Among those affected was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with the attackers ‘specifically and repeatedly targeting’ his personal particulars and information of his outpatient dispensed medicines, the ministries said in a joint release on Friday (Jul 20).” 

See also: 

Independent: “Hackers steal 1.5 million people’s personal data in cyber attack on Singapore’s health service” 

The Diplomat: “Singapore’s Cyber Challenge in the Spotlight With Health System Attack” 



Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Vietnam Suspends Online News Source, Citing ‘Fake News’” 

“Vietnamese authorities shut down the Tuoi Tre online news source for three months on Monday (16 July 2018), accusing the popular media outlet of spreading ‘fake news’ and promoting divisions between the northern and southern halves of the country…. The July 16 decision by Luu Dinh Phuc, head of the Media Department of Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communication, cited especially a June 19 article saying that Vietnam’s president had called for a law allowing public protests, calling the story false, local media said.” 

See also: 

VNExpress International: “Major online newspaper suspended for three months in Vietnam” 

Bangkok Post: “Vietnam withdraws licence of news site, issues fine” 

Voice of America (VOA): “Vietnam’s Censorship Expands to Popular, Official News Website” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Vietnam suspends site of state-owned newspaper for ‘untrue’ content” 


New Naratif: “Freedom of Assembly On Trial in Vietnam” 

“With a dismal Freedom House score of 20 out of a 100 (100 being the most free), Vietnam is often seen as an authoritarian country where one breaks the law by participating in protests. But when the Vietnamese authorities arrest people for demonstrating, it’s not actually about illegal assemblies; it’s about the government acting unconstitutionally and ignoring its own obligations and responsibilities when it comes to political and human rights.” 


Asia Media Centre. “(Opinion) Zac Fleming: Media freedom in Vietnam stuck in the past” 

“As far as media freedoms go, Vietnam is either stuck in the past or provides a glimpse into a potentially terrifying future…. The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam requires all journalists to submit an itinerary of unparalleled detail when applying for a visa, except for maybe North Korea; free press an oxymoron…. The Foreign Press Centre (FPC) is like a controlling editor, demanding to know where you want to go, who you want to talk to, what questions you want to ask. I even had to provide the make and model of the camera and microphone I was going to be using.” 


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “US Lawmakers Urge Facebook, Google Not to Comply With Vietnam Cybersecurity Law” 

“Nearly two dozen members of the U.S. Congress have written to the heads of Facebook and Google urging them not to comply with a new cybersecurity law in Vietnam, saying the legislation is in violation of international human rights standards and raises concerns under the country’s trade obligations…. In a letter dated July 12, and obtained Tuesday by RFA, 17 members of the House of Representatives called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to ‘live up to your stated missions to promote openness and connectivity,’ and refuse to aid Vietnam’s government in its crackdown on free expression and advocacy.” 

See also: 

Reuters: “Vietnam says controversial cybersecurity law aims to protect online rights” 

CPO Magazine: “Vietnam’s New Cybersecurity Law and Push for Internet Sovereignty Reduces Freedom” 



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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