Weekly Media Roundup (15 – 21 June 2019)

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)


[Myanmar] “Study reveals Facebook users go beyond social networking


[Philippines] Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR):

Freelance media account executive gunned down


[Cambodia] Cambodian Center for Human Rights:

The ASEAN we want

[Philippines] National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP):

Ban on Amatz: Unconstitutional and stupid

NUJP lauds 1,000 artists’ call to renew ABS-CBN franchise


General News

UNESCO stands up against online harassment of women journalists

“Meaningful dialogue and concerted efforts between a range of actors are necessary to address these challenges effectively. It is with this aim in mind that UNESCO is organizing, together with Member States from the Group for the Safety of Journalists at UNESCO, a conference to tackle the online harassment of women journalists. Titled “Standing up against online harassment of women journalists – What works?”, the event will take place on 18 June 2019 at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. Discussions will feature a range of prominent women journalists coming from Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and Nigeria. Experts from Twitter, The Guardian and Libération, as well as prosecutors and lawyers dealing with cases of online harassment, will also contribute to the discussions.”


VOA: Cambodia considers new anti-’fake news’ effort

“Attendees at an Asian media conference (in Siem Reap, Cambodia) agreed to develop a regional road map for combating fake news throughout the region, which is in the midst of government press crackdowns in several countries, including the host nation.”


New York Times: Saudis called Khashoggi ‘sacrificial animal’ as they waited to kill him

“That “animal” was the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist, and the exchange between the Saudi operatives as they waited to ambush and kill him last October was among the many details disclosed Wednesday in a new United Nations report on the case.”

Read the full report here: Annex to the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: Investigation into the unlawful death of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi


Hong Kong Free Press: Anti-extradition protests: Hong Kong press watchdog filed police complaint alleging abuse against 26 journalists

“Hong Kong’s press freedom watchdog filed a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) on Monday (17 June 2019) claiming police caused bodily harm to 26 journalists during several days of protest against the city’s controversial extradition bill.



New Naratif: Brunei’s tightening grip on freedom of expression

“Like neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, Brunei has a Sedition Act that can be used to silence dissent. For the most part, a culture of fear has been enough to stop people from speaking out, and there’s been little need to use the law. But the case of former government employee Shahiransheriffudin bin Shahrani Muhammad (also known as Shahiran Shahrani) shows that things might be changing as the authorities increasingly tighten their grip on freedom of expression in Brunei.”



VOD: “Khmer Times Publisher Accused of Sexual Harassment

“A former reporter at the Khmer Times has accused its publisher of sexual harassment, saying she resigned from the newspaper and returned to her home country to get away from repeat propositions of money for sex…. The publisher, T. Mohan, denied the accusations, saying the WhatsApp messages publicized by the ex-employee were ‘heavily redacted and distorted’ and that the ‘things as accused never happened….’ April Reposar, a Filipino journalist, wrote in an open letter to the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday that the events were ‘embarrassing and disturbing’ and ‘made me question my worth and my purpose.’”


United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures. “Cambodia: UN experts concerned at Government moves to silence political opponents

“UN human rights experts* have expressed concern at an escalating trend of suppression by the Cambodian Government of dissenting opinions in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate or silence political opinion…. According to information received, more than 140 members of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have been questioned by the authorities, summoned or detained in relation to attendance at gatherings and comments made in support of the two former leaders of the court-dissolved CNRP, Mr. Kem Sokha and Mr. Sam Rainsy. Some of the concerned individuals had posted videos of the gatherings and the statements in support of Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy on Facebook.”

*Rhona Smith (United Kingdom) Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia; David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression



The Jakarta Post: “Social media linked to poor mental health in Indonesia, research finds

“Based on the research, social media use is said to harm adult mental health, as the findings showed an increase of one standard deviation in adult use of social media, which is associated with a 9 percent increase in the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score…. The study discovered that social media highlighted the country’s high levels of inequality, creating envy and feelings of resentment.”


Tempo: 25 years after banning of Tempo; Media resist against suppression

“Indonesian press experienced dark history twenty-five years ago on June 21, 1994, when Tempo magazine was banned by Soeharto administration, the New Order era.

“Tempo magazine editor in chief Arif Zulkifli calls on the public to not only view the event as the history of media silencing but also as the history of media resistance against suppression.”



Phandeeyar: “Exploring digital & mobile cultures in Myanmar

“This is the first time that Phandeeyar has ventured out of its usual programme scope, i.e. to actually comprehend the context in which we operate. As a non-research institution, our capacity for social study is limited. Better understanding of the users and digital landscape, not just using numbers, but also social/anthropological insight, gives us a better understanding of the complex relationship users have with digital technology and enables more appropriate and effective innovation in both programming and support to communities. Furthermore, we present the findings to the public, donors, and other organizations so that they may utilize these insights in their interventions to better benefit internet users for greater social good in Myanmar.”


Xinhua: “Myanmar, int’l media institutes extend MoU on media cooperation

“Myanmar and two international media institutes have extended a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on media cooperation for another one year until March 2020, according to the country’s Ministry of Information on Sunday (16 June 2019)…. The MoU for the extension was signed in Yangon Saturday between the Information and Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Information, the International Media Support (IMS) based in Copenhagen, Denmark and Fojo Media Institute based in Kalmar, Sweden.”


Reuters: Myanmar official says runaway monk ‘incited hatred’ against Suu Kyi

“A Myanmar official on Tuesday (18 June 2019)  told a court that a nationalist Buddhist monk, Wirathu, who has evaded arrest on sedition charges, ‘incited hatred’ against leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government.”


Reuters: Myanmar orders internet shutdown in conflict-torn Rakhine state: telco operator

“Myanmar authorities ordered telecoms companies to shut down internet services in conflict-torn western Myanmar, a leading operator said on Saturday, amid heightening tensions in the region, where government troops are fighting ethnic rebels.”



ABS-CBNnews.com: Int’l media group urges Duterte to uphold press freedom, safety of journalists

“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Friday (14 June 2019) urged the Duterte administration to uphold press freedom and ensure the safety of journalists in the Philippines.”


Rappler: Maria Ressa cyber libel case proceeds to trial at Manila court

“The trial of Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa for one charge of cyber libel will proceed in July at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).”



South China Morning Post. “On the Singapore media’s run-ins with Lee Kuan Yew, and the newsroom calamity waiting to happen: veteran newsman PN Balji tells all in new book

“Reluctant Editor: The Singapore Media as Seen through the Eyes of a Veteran Newspaper Journalist by PN Balji sheds further light on the complicated and at times confrontational relationship between journalists and the government in Singapore’s tightly controlled media environment…. Balji spent 40 years working in five newsrooms and oversaw the coverage of some of Singapore’s most significant events. This book also recounts the highs and lows of his career and the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding editorial decisions, amid changes in the country’s media landscape.”


Bangkok Post: “(Opinion) A new ‘chill’ is coming to Thailand

“Given their open and highly-accessible nature, social media platforms — such as Facebook — should be a platform for the promotion of free speech. However, as Thai society gets more polarised and divided along political lines, social media can end up creating a raft of problems that could ultimately lead to the stifling of free speech in an unprecedented manner.”



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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