WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (16 – 22 April 2016)

Here are some of the press freedom- and free expression-related events and issues you might have missed last week:


Southeast Asia

Reporters Without Borders: “2016 World Press Freedom Index ­– leaders paranoid about journalists

“The media freedom situation worsened significantly or stagnated in most of the Asia-Pacific region. The decline affected eastern Asia’s democracies, previously regarded as regional models.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “Watchdog says Press Freedom in decline, ‘era of propaganda’
The Nation: “Thailand’s press freedom ranking drops
The Phnom Penh Post: “Cambodia inches up press freedom report
Radio Free Asia: “Laos Comes Up Short Again on Annual International Press Freedom Ranking


Associated Press: “How 4 AP reporters got the story ‘Seafood from Slaves’

“The series, ‘Seafood from Slaves,’ encompassed reporting across four countries by AP journalists Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan. Building on earlier reports of forced labor in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry, they worked for more than a year to delve into the harvesting and processing of inexpensive shrimp and other seafood sold in the U.S. and elsewhere.”



The Cambodia Daily: “Government Nixes Chut Wutty Film Screening

“Plans to screen a documentary in Phnom Penh this week about the final months of slain environmental activist Chut Wutty’s life have been called off at the behest of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, according to the film’s director.”

See also:
The Phnom Penh Post: “Culture Ministry bans film on forest activist Chut Wutty
Khmer Times: “After Ban, Chut Wutty Film to be Screened in Phnom Penh



The Jakarta Post: “Free expression suffers as conservatives prevail in culture wars

“There is no doubt that the public space for free expression in Indonesia is gradually shrinking and, tragically, successive democratically elected governments have played a role in the deterioration of our freedoms.”



Asian Correspondent: “The Malaysian government’s love-hate relationship with the media

“It’s been a rocky year so far for the often-contentious relationship between Malaysia’s leaders and the media…. In the first quarter of 2016, we’ve seen a soap opera of events unfold, from the blocking of news portals and blogging platforms to the arrest of foreign journalists.”


Al Jazeera: “The story that is dividing Malaysia’s media

“The Listening Post spoke to Malaysiakini editor Steven Gan about the 1MDB scandal, the limitations of Malaysia’s mainstream media and the growing threat to online freedom of the press.”


Malaysiakini: “Minority judgment on why gov’t can’t sue for defamation

“The minority judgment in the Sarawak state government and State Financial Authority vs Kuching MP Chong Chien Jen, said the government or its departments and agencies cannot sue individuals, as it can resort to criminal defamation law, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, and the Sedition Act 1948 to defend itself from defamatory statements.”


Asian Sentinel: “An Icon of Singaporean Resistance Dies

“Said (Zahari) led a vain journalists’ strike when it was taken over by the United Malays National Organization, the leading political party in Malaysia, a move that, along with eventual ownership of all of the mainstream press in Malaysia by political parties, ultimately ended press freedom in the country.”



Deutsche Welle‎: “Myanmar’s new President Htin Kyaw to continue releasing prisoners

“Among those released (political prisoners) were four journalists and an executive from the Unity Journal newspaper, who had been sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in 2014 for reporting on an alleged military chemical weapons factory, Reuters reported.”


Coconuts Yangon: “All Hail Myanmar Journalist Esther Htusan who just won Pulitzer Prize

“‘Today a woman (Esther Htusan) who lived in Kachin State wins a Pulizer prize for her reporting on slavery in Indonesia. The first woman journalist from Burma won the journalism award ever. I am touched and moved by this news,’ read one comment.”



VERA Files: “Sensitive info of 70M voters floating online

“…the data spill has been dubbed by security researchers as the biggest government-related breach in history.”

See also:
Rappler.com: “Is Comelec liable for website data leak?


GMA News Online: “QC prosecutor orders filing of libel raps vs. PDI editors, reporters

“The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the filing of libel charges against editors and reporters of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for involving dzBB anchorman Melo del Prado in the pork barrel scam in 2014.”


Malaya Business Insight: “PH drives Facebook growth in Southeast Asia

“The Philippines has been driving the growth of Facebook in Southeast Asia with more than 49 million users, according to Kenneth Bishop, Facebook’s managing director for the region.”



Khaosod English: “Thai Immigration Asks Foreigners for Bank Accounts, Social Media, Hangouts

“Foreign nationals residing in Thailand are being asked to disclose personal information to the government, including their bank details and where they hang out online and offline.”

See also:
Asian Correspondent: “Thailand asking foreigners for bank account, social media, and hangout details


Asian Correspondent: “Thai junta makes it clear it is not interested in democracy

“In light of the impending referendum, which is set to take place on August 7, the HRW (Human Rights Watch) has expressed its concerns regarding the Thai government’s crackdown on its critics and the introduction of new oppressive laws.”



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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