WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (15 – 21 July 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)

[Philippines]
Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
Three Ampatuan, Maguindanao Massacre Accused Acquitted

 

Cambodia

VOA Khmer: “Experts Warn Cambodia Crackdown Signals Rocky Election Year Ahead

“The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has been intensifying its efforts to reduce the democratic space for opposition parties, civil society and the media ahead of next year’s general election, according to political analysts and human rights workers.”

 

The Phnom Penh Post: “In Cambodian media, ‘if it bleeds, it leads’

“While writing about sensitive issues like politics or business can quickly draw the attention of the government, when it comes to gore, the Cambodian media market is as unregulated as the Wild West, and in place of laws, few outlets fill the void with standards of journalism practised elsewhere that are designed to protect both subjects and readers.”

 

The Phnom Penh Post: “Code for reporting on women

“The Ministry of Information and Ministry of Women’s Affairs are expected to implement a code of conduct today (20 July 2017) for media outlets reporting on violence against women – an effort to rein in journalistic practices that experts say harm and often demean victims.”

 

Indonesia

TEMPO.CO: “57 Journalists Receive Press Card from Press Council

“As many as 57 journalists from regions across in Indonesia received an award from Press Council in the form of Competence Certificate and Press Card.”

 

Laos

Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Laos: No Progress on Rights

“Australian officials should press the government of Laos to respect human rights at the Australian-Laos human rights dialogue, scheduled for July 18-19, 2017, in Vientiane, Human Rights Watch said today in a submission to the Australian government. Key areas of concern in Laos are freedom of speech, association, and assembly; enforced disappearances; abusive drug detention centers; and repression of minority religious groups.”

 

Malaysia

The Star Online: “Silent press conference sends out loud message

“Five Gerakan politicians held a ‘silent press conference’ over two legal notices of demand for alleged defamation from Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s legal team…. They taped their mouths with labels ‘DAP wants to seal my mouth’ handwritten in black ink and did not say a word.”

 

The Nation: “Malaysia identifies 1,500 fake social media accounts

“The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said the characteristics of these fake accounts are using other’s identity, fabricated organisation or fake details…. Based on public complain and monitoring by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 1,500 social media accounts have been identified as fake accounts.”

 

Channel News Asia: “Malaysia’s public broadcaster RTM to stop airing Despacito

“Malaysia’s public broadcaster Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will cease broadcasting the global hit song Despacito through all its radio and television stations immediately, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said on Wednesday (Jul 19)…. Minister Salleh said an RTM evaluation panel decided to withdraw approval to play the song following a re-evaluation…Some quarters, such as the women’s wing of Parti Amanah Negara (Awan), have called for the broadcast of the song to be stopped, alleging obscene lyrics.”

 

Myanmar

The Irrawaddy: “Voice Daily’s Editor, Columnist Charged Under Media Law

“The Voice Daily’s chief editor and columnist have been charged under Article 25(b) of the Media Law for publishing a satirical article questioning the country’s ongoing peace process…. The pair had previously been charged under controversial Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law over the same story after Lt-Col Lin Tun of the Myanmar Army filed a suit against them at the Bahan Township police station on May 17.”

 

Mizzima: “Arrested Myanmar journalists slam army over free speech

“Three Myanmar journalists who are facing jail for their reporting accused the army on Tuesday (18 July 2017) of trying to silence the media, as fears grow for free speech.”

See also:
The Irrawaddy: “Detained Journalists’ Hearing Date Moved in Surprise Court Appearance
Frontier Myanmar: “Pre-trial detention extended for journalist trio in unexpected hearing
Reuters: “Myanmar journalists decry military’s role in their detention

 

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Journalists Accuse Army Sergeant of ‘Illegal Stalking’

“A group of Myanmar reporters filed charges on Wednesday (19 July 2017) against an army sergeant and police officer in Yangon for violating a law protecting citizens’ privacy and security, amid growing concerns about the state of freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Myanmar…. Myanmar’s Committee for the Protection of Journalists has accused Corporal Soe Myint Aung from the Yangon Division Military Headquarters of illegally stalking them by taking their photos outside a courthouse in the city’s Bahan township on June 30 during a bail hearing for an editor of an independent newspaper who is being detained on defamation charges.”

 

Reuters: “U.N. Envoy Complains of State Surveillance, Access Restrictions in Myanmar

“Activists and journalists in newly democratic Myanmar continue to be followed and questioned by state surveillance agents, a U.N. envoy said on Friday (21 July 2017), at the conclusion of a visit she said was beset by official snooping and access restrictions.”

 

Frontier Myanmar: “Myanmar’s paper tiger press council

“The recent spike in the number of journalists being arrested has brought attention to the Myanmar Press Council’s inability to mediate in disputes.”

 

Asia Times: “Why Suu Kyi should reach out to Myanmar’s media

“Media freedom is not a priority for Myanmar’s paradoxically named ruling party – the National League for Democracy (NLD)…. After three journalists were arrested by the country’s military on June 26 — adding to an escalating climate of fear among the press — it is surprising that the nation’s de facto ruler, and the NLD’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, appears to be turning her back on the very institution that supported her high-profile fight for a democratic Myanmar in the first place.”

See also:
Khaosod English: “Concern rises over press freedom in Suu Kyi’s Myanmar
Frontier Myanmar: “Is media freedom under threat?
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR): “Amid concerns about press freedom in Myanmar, ASEAN MPs call for the release of journalists and repeal of repressive laws
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Online defamation law amendments fall short in Myanmar”

 

Philippines

SunStar Cebu: “Over FB posts, broadcaster faces 4 counts of libel

“The Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor indicted broadcaster Juniño Padilla for allegedly maligning the reputation of former Cebu City councilor Atty. Gerardo Carillo…. Prosecutor Alex Gabud found evidence to charge Padilla, who co-manages radio dyRC of the Manila Broadcasting Company, with four counts of violation of Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 in relation to Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code.”

 

Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Official statement | Inquirer Group of Companies on talks with Ramon S. Ang

“The Chair of the Inquirer Group of Companies, Marixi Prieto, confirmed today (17 July 2017) that she has resumed discussions with longstanding friend and business partner Ramon S. Ang for the sale of the Prieto family’s interest and majority share in the Inquirer Group.”

See also:
Rappler.com: “Inquirer employees surprised, worried about Ramon Ang buyout” ; “Is the Inquirer’s impending sale a Manila Times redux?
BusinessWorld Online: “Pangilinan willing to sell Inquirer stake

 

Rappler.com: “Aquino cites ‘deafening’ silence of media under Duterte

“A year after his self-imposed ban, former president Benigno Aquino III broke his silence, as he cited the Philippine media’s ‘deafening silence’ under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte…. The former chief executive raised this in response to questions in an exclusive interview with Rappler CEO and editor-in-chief Maria Ressa, where he observed that the media nitpicked his administration and seemed even more courageous when they were most vulnerable – during the Marcos regime – compared to now.”

 

Singapore

The Straits Times: “Using AI to boost cyber defences

“The Singapore Government is stepping up investments in artificial intelligence (AI) to better counter cyber threats from hackers who are also increasingly using AI to vary their strategies…. As much as $528 million, or 22 per cent, of Singapore’s tech budget this year – the most ever – has been set aside for security software and systems, particularly AI-enabled ones.”

 

Thailand

Khaosod English: “(Opinion) Net censorship undermines opportunities of ‘Thailand 4.0’

“Given the economic policies being spearheaded under the Thailand 4.0 initiative and growth of tech startups in the past decade, shifting to a single gateway or regularly blocking social media content could undermine much of the intended progress.”

 

Bangkok Post: “Seeking freedom of speech, critics turn to comedy

“Dissent has been muted by the ruling generals since a 2014 coup. But there is one area where critical voices still have some space: humour…. With political activity banned, internet censorship in force and activists and dissidents detained or summoned for ‘attitude adjustment’, public discontent is being manifested in widely shared cartoons, internet memes, and parody music videos.”

See also:
Global Voices: “Pop Band’s Music Video Parodies Junta Rule in Thailand

 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Pravit Rojanaphruk, Thailand | International Press Freedom Awards

“CPJ is honored to present its 2017 International Press Freedom Award to Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk…. Pravit Rojanaphruk is one of Thailand’s most prominent critical reporters and a long-time advocate for press freedom. He is currently a columnist and senior staff writer for Khaosod English (Fresh News), a website established in 2013 that publishes critical coverage of Thailand’s junta. Before that, he worked for more than 20 years with the local English-language newspaper The Nation.”

 

NOTE

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

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