WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (15 – 21 April 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)

The Jakarta Post: “AJI Jakarta warns journalists to maintain independence in election

“The Jakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI Jakarta) has called on journalists and news media organizations reporting on the Jakarta gubernatorial election to uphold the journalistic code of ethics amid rampant unverified reports, fake news and smear campaigns circulating on social media.”



Radio Free Asia: “Cambodia Bans Future Visits to Jailed Opposition Lawmakers

“Cambodia’s Interior Ministry has banned future visits to political opposition officials and activists held in Prey Sar Prison, saying that a group of lawmakers had improperly allowed an RFA Khmer Service reporter to accompany them to the prison on Wednesday (19 April 2017).”

See also:

The Cambodia Daily: “Court Summons Lawmakers, Radio Free Asia Journalist Over Prison Visit



The Jakarta Post: “Yogyakarta governor reports online media to police for alleged libel

“Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who is also the Yogyakarta governor, reported on Wednesday metronews.tk, an online media company, to the Yogyakarta Police for allegedly spreading false news about him.”


The Jakarta Post: “Online media join forces to combat fake news

“In the wake of rampant fake news and hoaxes on the internet that have caused social discord, Indonesian online media outlets have established a forum in a bid to ensure credible digital content based on trusted information…. The forum, the Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI), is founded by 23 media companies, including thejakartapost.com, tempo.co, kompas.com and merdeka.com, which are committed to delivering balanced and responsible content that adheres to journalistic ethics.”



International Federation of Journalists (IFJ): “Malaysian government ordered to pay for damaged cartoons

“On Tuesday, April 11, the High Court of Malaysia ordered the Malaysian government and police to pay political cartoonist, Zulkiflee SM Anwar Haque, whose pen name is Zunar, RM18,000 (USD 4,000). The ruling against the government was made due to damages to Zunar’s works which were seized seven years ago in 2009. Zunar has originally sued two police officers, A Arikrisna and Marina Hashim, along with the former inspector general of police Ismail Omar and the government for unlawful detention and false imprisonment, but in 2012, the High Court dismissed the lawsuit, but ruled that seizure and continued possession of the 66 books was unlawful and damages to be assessed.”


The Star Online. “Najib: Press freedom comes with responsibility to counter fake news

“‘The Government will be on your side. All we ask in return is the opportunity to remind you to rely in your reporting and sourcing, in whichever country that may be – not on rumours, not on unsourced anonymous quotes, and not on invented propaganda, no matter now persuasively it may be presented – but on verified facts,’ he (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) said.”

See also:

Coconuts KL. “Najib: ‘Free speech is thriving in Malaysia’
The Sydney Morning Herald: “Malaysian PM Najib Razak accuses media of ‘fake news’, doubts corruption reports


Malaysian Digest: “Gerakan Suspects FOI Implementation Merely Political Publicity

“The DAP-led state government’s implementation of Freedom of Information (FOI) in Penang is merely for political publicity, says Penang Gerakan acting youth chief Jason Loo.”

See also:

Malay Mail Online: “After 20 failed attempts, Penang Gerakan man tries FOI yet again


Malay Mail Online. Opinion: “On actions that forge censorship

“The danger with the harsher kinds of censorship is that they help to further normalise censorship, especially of the arbitrary variety, in our society to the extent that it violates freedom of expression, curbs dialogue and debate and cripples democracy as a whole.”



Reuters: “Myanmar publisher who criticized establishment is found stabbed to death

“A Myanmar publisher whose magazine has criticized the military, political and business establishment was found stabbed to death in his office at the weekend, police said on Tuesday (18 April 2017)…. Wai Yan Heinn, 27, was stabbed 15 times with a knife in his chest and abdomen, police captain Yin Htwe told Reuters.”

See also:

Radio Free Asia: “Myanmar Police Arrest Married Couple in Murder of Yangon Publisher
The Irrawaddy: “Police Hunt for Killer of Publisher Who Criticized Former Regime
Coconuts Yangon: “Body of The Iron Rose editor discovered inside office
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Newsmagazine publisher stabbed to death in Myanmar
Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “Burma : RSF calls for thorough investigation into journalist’s murder


The Irrawaddy: “Rangoon Judge Throws Out Defamation Case Against Journalist

“Kyauktada Township judge U Than Naing Htwe rejected the defamation charge against Myanmar Now’s chief editor Ko Swe Win on Friday (21 April 2017), pointing out that the lawsuit had not been directly filed by the aggrieved party, according to legal adviser U Khin Maung Myint.”


The Irrawaddy: “Former Soldier and Two Reporters Arrested For Smuggling Rohingya in Arakan State

“A former soldier and two reporters were arrested by police at Taungpon Gyi border checkpoint in southern Arakan State along with the three Rohingya men who they are accused of smuggling from the state capital Sittwe on April 16…. The arrests have stirred accusations of unethical practice from other media groups, who claim the two reporters work for an organization that is tainting the image of journalists in Burma. However, the umbrella group of the reporters’ agency, Myanmar Crime Reporters Association (MCRA-Central), has rebutted the claims.”


Frontier Myanmar. Opinion: “Changes take time, but commitment matters

“Veteran journalists have expressed regret that many government officials were not approachable. The government has released information that it wanted the media to report but it does not welcome questions from journalists. A lack of transparency jeopardises journalism in Myanmar and is a denial of the citizens’ right to know.”


Frontier Myanmar: “Down, but not out

“Journalists with a commitment to reporting the facts can be at risk of paying a price for their professionalism when publishers are pusillanimous.”



Philippine Daily Inquirer: “PNP blames media for drop in drug war’s public support in SWS survey

“The Philippine National Police is blaming media coverage of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) for the double-digit drop in public satisfaction with the Duterte administration’s bloody war on drugs…. The media’s repeated use of EJKs when Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted a survey last month may have heightened the public’s concern with personal safety, the PNP spokesperson, Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, said on Wednesday (19 April 2017).”



Prachatai English: “Junta critic faces charge over FB post on 1932 Revolution plaque

“On 19 April 2017, Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, the Deputy Chief of the Royal Thai Police (RTP), revealed that the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) filed a complaint against Watana Muangsook, a politician from the Pheu Thai Party, for breaching the Computer Crime Act…. The TCSD accused him of posting false information on the internet in claiming that the 1932 Revolution plaque is a ‘national asset’ in order to call for people to demand its return, adding that the post might also incite chaos.”

See also:

Two activists detained after promoting search for missing revolution plaque


Prachatai English: “Junta blocks Youtube channel of exiled Thai journalist

“The Youtube channel of an anti-junta journalist who fled to the US after the 2014 coup d’état has been blocked from audiences in Thailand…. On 20 April 2017, the Youtube channel ‘Jom Voice’ of Jom Petpradab, a veteran journalist now living in self-exile in the US, was found blocked.”


Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Thailand: Junta Making Mockery a Criminal Offense

“Thailand’s military junta is targeting a range of peaceful critics for prosecution prior to the third anniversary of the military coup, Human Rights Watch said today (17 April 2017). Charges were recently brought against 59-year-old Veera Somkwamkid, a prominent anti-corruption activist, for mocking Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha on Facebook.”



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

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