Weekly Media Roundup (15 – 21 December 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) 

Report: 

SEAPA Announces New Board Officers

 

Fellowship: 

[Philippines] Duterte, allies reap the most benefits from disinformation

See also: 

In Doubt? Here’s how to verify photos, videos online

 

Opportunity: 

Data Journalism Awards 2019

 

General news 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “RSF’s 2018 round-up of deadly attacks and abuses against journalists – figures up in all categories” 

“A total of 80 journalists were killed this year, 348 are currently in prison, and 60 are being held hostage, according to the annual worldwide round-up of deadly violence and abusive treatment of journalists released today by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which shows an unprecedented level of hostility towards media personnel.” 

See also: 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Hundreds of journalists jailed globally becomes the new normal” 

 

Amnesty International: “Troll patrol findings | Using Crowdsourcing, Data Science & Machine Learning to Measure Violence and Abuse against Women on Twitter” 

“Our findings reveal the sheer scale and nature of online abuse faced by women and provides a resource to researchers and engineers interested in exploring the potential of machine learning in content moderation…. These findings are the result of a collaboration between Amnesty International and Element AI,  a global artificial intelligence software product company. Together, we surveyed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US throughout 2017 representing a variety of political views, and media spanning the ideological spectrum. Using cutting-edge data science and machine learning techniques, we were able to provide a quantitative analysis of unprecedented scale of online abuse against women in the UK and USA.” 

 

Southeast Asia 

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA): “Shrinking Civic Space – Experiences of Media and Human Rights Defenders in Asia” 

“Civic space is shrinking across Asia due to increasing restrictions on people’s participation in civic and political life. Few groups are more under pressure than the media and human rights defenders. Both are facing harassment, incarceration and even being killed in countries across the region. With the aim to understand how media and human rights defenders confront the challenges related to the shrinking civic space in Asia, the trends in the region, and the experiences of reporters and activists, FORUM-ASIA facilitated a dialogue for media and human rights defenders from Asia to share their experiences and views…” 

See also: 

Council on Foreign Relations. “2018 in Review: Press Freedom Under Assault in Southeast Asia—Maria Ressa and More” 

 

The Business Times: “Unleashing ASEAN’s full potential with data-driven governance” 

“Recognizing this, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has identified “strengthening governance by improving transparency in the public sector” as one of the action plans necessary to realize a more responsive, competitive, innovative and dynamic region by 2025. Although leveraging data is one way of improving governance, it does not guarantee success.” 

 

Cambodia 

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Cambodia PM Accuses Opposition of Spreading Fake News, While His Control Over Media Outlets is Revealed” 

“Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen alleged Friday that the main opposition party he had banned last year is spreading fake news, while it emerged that his government has exerted heavy-handed control of a purportedly independent outlet…. ‘Cambodia is facing the serious problem of fake news that has polluted the social environment,’ he said in a statement delivered at the Club of Cambodian Journalists annual meeting.” 

See also: 

Cambodia’s Hun Sen Blasts RFA Despite Promises of Welcome to ‘Return’” 

 

The Phnom Penh Post: “Lese majeste ‘violator’ to remain behind bars while appeal is lodged” 

“A violater of the lese majeste law continued to be held in jail in Siem Reap province despite having served his sentence, after an appeal from the provincial prosecutor blocked his release…. Ban Samphy, 70, a barber and deputy leader of CNRP in Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng district, was sentenced in October to one-year imprisonment, five months of which were suspended, after being convicted of violating Cambodia’s lese majeste law.” 

 

Indonesia 

The Jakarta Post: “AJI condemns violence against journalists in Ciracas attack” 

“The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jakarta chapter has strongly condemned alleged violence and intimidation against two journalists covering a mob attack on a police station in Ciracas, East Jakarta on Tuesday (11 December 2018)…. AJI Jakarta has urged the two journalists from kumparan.com and Transmedia to file police reports, citing Law No. 40/1999 on the press, which protects the rights of journalists.” 

 

Asia Times: “Instagram will now censor hate speech in Bahasa Indonesia” 

“With the launch of a new feature, the popular social media application Instagram will now filter and censor comments in Bahasa Indonesia…. According to a report from tempo.co, Instagram will be implementing the new feature that incorporates machine learning technology. The feature will filter comments on posts that include hate speech towards ethnic and religious groups. Sexually abusive and spam comments will also be censored.” 

 

Malaysia 

Malay Mail: “Journos back fellow reporter covering Adib’s funeral, after Islamist group’s attack” 

“Several journalist groups have supported ethnic Indian reporter Kumaran Rajamoney, after an Islamist group lambasted his coverage of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s funeral in Kedah…. In a statement, Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) urged the public to not manipulate racial sentiments or take advantage of fellow media practitioners who are only doing their job.” 

 

Columbia Journalism Review (CJR): “Malaysia’s R.AGE builds a business from advocacy journalism” 

“R.AGE started in 2005 as a classic newspaper pullout, targeting young readers with celebrity, lifestyle, and student-focused stories. Yee, who came on as a cub reporter in 2008, contributed plenty to the section but felt it could do more hard-hitting work.His proposal: switching to ‘hardcore’ investigative documentaries—a sort of Malaysian answer to Frontline, geared to millennials. Management wouldn’t pay for it but said he could raise the money on his own. He and a couple colleagues obliged, moonlighting as videographers-for-hire.” 

 

Myanmar 

The Straits Times: “Facebook shuts more accounts and groups in Myanmar over covert pro-military messages” 

“Social media giant Facebook announced on Wednesday (Dec 19) that it has removed 425 pages and 135 accounts in Myanmar, in its latest action against users who were covertly trying to push pro-military messages…. This is the third time in Myanmar this year that Facebook has removed content for what it calls ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’. The content removed included 17 Facebook groups and 15 accounts on photograph-sharing network Instagram, which Facebook also owns.” 

 

Eleven: “Myanmar to accelerate 5G development despite risks” 

“Common challenges for developing nations in their digital transformation including the lack of infrastructure and technical knowhow may not be able to deter Myanmar from embracing the fifth generation of wireless technology known as 5G, according to speakers at the Myanmar 5G Forum2018 held on Wednesday (19 December 2018) …. At the event jointly organised by Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications Department and Huawei Technologies Co, government officials and international experts shared insights on 5G and its potential impacts on Myanmar.” 

 

Philippines 

INQUIRER.net: “Grenade found in locker near ABS-CBN newsroom” 

“A fragmentation hand grenade encased in a plastic bottle has been found inside a locker near the newsroom of ABS-CBN in Mother Ignacia, Diliman, Quezon City…. According to a police spot report, ABS-CBN’s maintenance personnel found the grenade last Tuesday (18 December 2018) afternoon while cleaning the lockers in the building’s basement floor.” 

See also: 

CNN Philippines: “Police recover grenade found in ABS-CBN compound” 

 

INQUIRER.net: “Philippines among worst countries for journalists in Southeast Asia — IFJ” 

“The Philippines is among the seven countries in Southeast Asia that were dubbed as the worst places for journalists due to threat of impunity, safety, and censorship…. This was according to the report of the Southeast Asia Media Freedom that was published by the International Federation of Journalists.” 

See also: 

Rappler.com: “Philippines deadliest country for journalists in Southeast Asia – IFJ” ; “PHILIPPINE DEMOCRACY IN 2018 | Where do we fall in world rankings?” 

philstar.com: “Filipino journalists identify poor wages, cyber attacks as key threats — report” ; “Reports critical of Duterte administration being pulled down — report” 

The ASEAN Post. “The Philippines: Dangerous for journalists” 

 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Committee to Protect Journalists and First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund Announce Legal Support to Defend Fearless Journalism” 

“The Committee to Protect Journalists and First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund today announced they are partnering on a fundraising campaign to provide legal support for journalists facing extensive legal battles meant to suppress critical journalism. The International Center for Journalists and Reporters Without Borders have also pledged their support…. The project currently has $100,000 pledged and aims to raise a total of $500,000 to cover legal fees for news organizations unfairly targeted by governments or powerful figures because they have tried to bring to light information that is in the public interest.” 

See also: 

International Center for Journalists (ICFJ): “New Campaign to Help Embattled Journalist Maria Ressa, Rappler with Critical Legal Support” 

Rappler.com: “Global media groups start fund-raising for Rappler” 

 

GMA News: “GMA News and Public Affairs receives YouTube innovation grant for ‘Stand for Truth’” 

“GMA News and Public Affairs—the most internationally-awarded broadcast news organization in the country—just received an innovation funding grant from the world’s leading online video platform YouTube…. The grant enables GMA News and Public Affairs to mount a major innovation project involving news. The winning proposal: ‘Stand for Truth: powered by GMA’s Digital Video Lab’—a weeknight news program produced by the young, for the young—will contain elements never used before in traditional GMA newscasts.” 

 

INQUIRER.net: “OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON CEBU DAILY NEWS | Inquirer.net pivots Cebu’s only independent newspaper to fully digital” 

“Inquirer.net, the number one Filipino news website, announced its acquisition of the URL www.cebudailynews.inquirer.net and trademark of Cebu Daily News (CDN) and its plan to pivot CDN to a fully digital platform on New Year’s Day of 2019. With this development, Cebu Daily News will produce the final edition of the daily newspaper on December 31, 2018. This decision is in response to the media consumption habits of readers everywhere.” 

 

Singapore 

Channel NewsAsia: “IMDA blocks Singapore Herald website for not removing articles on Singapore-Malaysia maritime dispute” 

“Access to the Singapore Herald socio-political website has been blocked after its editors failed to take down ‘objectionable’ articles, the Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA) said on Sunday (Dec 16)…. The website published eight articles between Dec 6 and Dec 12 that ‘blatantly misrepresent’ Singapore’s position in the ongoing situation with Malaysia, the authority said in an email response to media queries.” 

See also: 

The Straits Times: “Singapore Herald website blocked for not removing objectionable articles on Singapore-Malaysia dispute” 

Coconuts Singapore. “Singapore Herald website allegedly ‘banned’ in Singapore: website owner in Facebook post” 

 

Thailand 

Khaosod English: “YouTuber who criticized princess-made pageant gown faces legal action” 

“An aspiring politician filed criminal complaints Tuesday (18 December 2018) against a net idol for allegedly mocking a Miss Universe pageant dress that was designed by a daughter of His Majesty the King…. The complaint, filed by a millionaire hoping to run in the upcoming election, accused internet TV show host Wanchaleom Jamneanphol of libel and cybercrimes for a now-deleted Facebook post in which she said the dress was ugly. She later apologized.” 

See also: 

TIME: “YouTuber Could End Up in Court After Criticizing Miss Universe Gown Designed by Thai Princess” 

 

The Nation: “Cybersecurity, data protection bills await NLA approval” 

“The Cabinet has approved cybersecurity and personal data-protection bills for enactment by the National Legislative Assembly, paving the way for the country to enforce legal safeguards for the rapidly-growing digital economy and society…. Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the cybersecurity bill will help ensure national security in cyberspace, covering both public and private sector databases, while personal data protection will require the owners of data to give explicit consent before it can be used by other parties.” 

See also: 

Bangkok Post: “Cybersecurity spending to rise” 

 

Vietnam 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “Vietnam: How Facebook is being abused to silence critics in Germany” 

“Facebook is being systematically abused to censor Vietnamese bloggers living in exile. According to the information available to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in the last few months the social network has repeatedly deleted posts and also blocked the accounts of such individuals due to alleged violations of its ‘Community Standards’…. The most recent case to come to light is that of Trung Khoa Le, a journalist living in Germany whose Facebook account was blocked, preventing him from posting a video in Germany which was critical of the Vietnamese government. Facebook later admitted that it had been the victim of a ‘malicious attack’ and announced improvements. Research has revealed that Trung Khoa Le’s case was not an isolated incident. RSF Germany has presented Facebook with 23 similar cases, including that of the Vietnamese blogger Bui Thanh Hieu.” 

 

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Vietnamese at Home and Abroad Present Eight-Point Petition Calling for Reform” 

“Vietnamese civil society groups and individuals based both in Vietnam and abroad called on their government in a petition on Wednesday (19 December 2018) to implement political reforms, guaranteeing basic rights to assembly and freedom of the press and freeing prisoners jailed for peacefully expressing their views…. The petition, titled ‘An Eight-Point Demand for 2019,’ was sent to national leaders and to members of Vietnam’s National Assembly, and mirrors an eight-point petition presented to the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference by former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.” 

 

VN Express International: “Vietnamese reporter arrested for blackmailing Chinese firm” 

“Bac Giang police on Tuesday (18 December 2018) detained a female journalist who extorted money after threatening to expose a Chinese firm’s violations…. Dao Thi Thanh Binh, 40, with the Thuong hieu va Cong luan (Brand and Public Opinion) newspaper, has been placed under criminal investigation for receiving $70,000 as bribe from the Chinese-owned Luxshare ICT Vietnam Company in the northern province of Bac Giang.” 

 

NOTE 

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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