WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (15 – 21 October 2016)

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)

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
A Rocky Relationship: Duterte and the Media

See also:
The Executive Order on FOI: A Freedom of Exceptions?



Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO): “Continuing Restrictions on Free Expression in West Papua

“UNPO conducted an interview with Aprila R.A. Wayar on her experiences as a journalist carrying out her profession in West Papua. Wayar was born in West Papua and grew up in Java. After graduating from the local university in Java, she returned to West Papua to work as a journalist. Her personal experiences shed light on the restrictions of the freedom of opinion and expression frequently experienced by local and foreign journalists in West Papua.”


The Jakarta Post: “Media owners’ interference threat to press freedom

“Press freedom in the country is in relatively good shape, however, the independence of media organizations is threatened by growing interference by certain groups in society as well as media owners, according to a study by the Press Council.”


The Jakarta Post: “Culture of secrecy persists 18 years after democratic reforms

“The brouhaha over the whereabouts of the Munir report is a reminder of how a culture of secrecy persists in the country even after it enacted the Freedom of Information Law in 2008. Under the law, the KIP (Central Information Commission) was established in 2009 as an adjudicator to hear disputes on information between the public and government bodies in non-litigation rulings.”


INQUIRER.net: “Indonesian gay couple arrested over Facebook photo

“An Indonesian gay couple has been arrested after a photo on Facebook of the men kissing sparked anger, police said Friday (14 October 2016), in the latest move against the country’s homosexual community.”

See also:
The Jakarta Post: “Jokowi must do more for freedom of expression: Setara


The Jakarta Post: “Government could remove online stories

“The House of Representatives and the government have agreed to include the controversial “right to be forgotten” provision in the amendment of the much-criticized 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, which is set to be endorsed by the end of next week, says a top lawmaker.”



Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI): “Zunar grounded by Malaysian police chief

“As widely reported following an update on his Twitter feed, CRNI’s 2011 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award winner Zulkiflee Anwar Haque – Zunar – was prevented from leaving Malaysia via Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday October 17th. He had intended to travel to Singapore to attend a forum.”

See also:
Amnesty International. “Malaysia: Drop travel ban on Zunar and other government critics


ASEAN Today: “Insecure Najib cracks down on social media, but has the damage been done?

“In fact, as the 1MDB scandal continues to dog his reputation, Najib has pulled the reins tighter. In recent months laws have become increasingly oppressive, and victims have shifted from politicians to civil society activists to regular citizens, say activists.”

See also:
Malaysiakini: “Bersih convoy disrupted by scuffles, media threatened
The Star Online: “Freedom of speech in a democracy



Myanmar Times: “PR minister says spokesperson criticism unwarranted

“Despite clamouring from the public and the media about lack of access to information from government officials, the situation has greatly improved, the country’s ringmaster of public relations said yesterday (19 October 2016).”



BusinessWorld: “DoJ’s Aguirre to head task force on media amid online harassment

“In a phone conference with reporters last week, Mr. (Vitaliano) Aguirre said he is certain the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre will receive priority in the said task force. On Nov. 23, 2009, 58 people — 23 of them, from the media — were killed in the course of a local rivalry in that province. It is deemed the world’s deadliest attack on media workers and became a rallying point against impunity in the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The crime, however, remained unresolved in the succeeding administration of Benigno S. C. Aquino III.”

See also:
The Philippine Star: “TF on media slays to prioritize Maguindanao massacre
BusinessWorld: “Dismantling the culture of impunity


INQUIRER.net: “Journos not spared from police attacks in anti-US rally

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Thursday (20 October 2016) said members of the media were not spared from the brutal dispersal in front of the US Embassy, condemning the police attacks as a ‘clear case of violence by the state against its own people.'”


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “FOI bill advances in the Senate

“A Freedom of Information (FOI) bill covering all branches of government advanced at the Senate on Wednesday (19 October 2016) after the Senate committee on public information and mass media endorsed the measure to the plenary.”

See also:
The Philippine Star: “Senate starts plenary debates on FOI bill
Manila Bulletin: “FOI inches close to fruition


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Graveyard shift alive–and international

“The first three months that saw President Duterte unleashing government forces for his war on drugs—while also encouraging the general public to kill drug dealers—have kept journalists up late at night and into the wee hours.”



Bangkok Post: “Five nabbed for lese majeste in past week

“Five people have been arrested on lese majeste charges since his Majesty the King’s passing, deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said Thursday (20 October 2016)…. Most concern messages posted online which breach Section 112 of the Criminal Code, better known as the lese majeste law, he said. No further details of who had been arrested or where were available. As for similar cases committed by suspects overseas, the police were working with public prosecutors handling international criminal cases, he said…. The deputy national police chief also warned netizens against posts which defame the royal institution.”

See also:
NCPO denounces vigilantism” ; “All online content must be ‘respectful’” ; “Mobs pressure police to make lese majeste arrests” ; “No place for trolls, mobs
Khaosod English: “Blogger Calls For Harassment of BBC Correspondent” ; “Calls for calm over ‘witch hunt’ concerns after HM King’s death
The Nation: “The King and Thai media
Channel News Asia: “‘Witch-hunts’ against lese majeste offenders rise in Thailand after king’s death
Bloomberg: “Thai Junta Cracks Down on Royal Insults After King’s Death
Reuters: “Thailand sees a jump in royal defamation cases after death of king


BuzzFeed News: “Thailand Weighs New Internet Rules That Could Make Government Spying Easy

“Thailand’s legislature is considering amending its controversial cybercrime law in a way that tech lawyers and digital privacy activists in the country fear could pressure online political speech and give the government broader range to conduct surveillance on internet users.”


Timor Leste

Global Voices: “Journalists Call on Timor-Leste PM to Drop Defamation Complaint Against Reporters

“Journalists around the world are trying to get the prime minister of Timor-Leste (East Timor) to abandon a criminal complaint against two Timor-Post reporters who say he was involved in government corruption.”

See also:
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific: “Call on Timor Leste’s PM to drop criminal defamation charges against journalists



VN Express International: “Vietnam suspends top editors of news website

“Officials will look into violations at the news site Infonet and two of its editors have been suspended for 15 days.”



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

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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