Weekly Media Roundup (16 – 22 June 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)


[Indonesia] Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists). Press Release: AJI Menyesalkan Penerapan Pasal Pidana Kasus Muhammad Yusuf (AJI deplores the application of a criminal case against Muhammad Yusuf)


[Philippines] National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Statement: NUJP on SP Sotto’s ‘request’ for Inquirer.net to takedown stories on Pepsi Paloma


General news

United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (UN OHCHR): “2018 thematic report to the Human Rights Council on content regulation” 

“In the first-ever UN report that examines the regulation of user-general online content, the Special Rapporteur examines the role of States and social media companies in providing an enabling environment for freedom of expression and access to information online.” 


NiemanLab. “(An Open Letter) How to end misogyny in the news industry: An open letter to the international journalism community” 

“The following open letter, about the broad problem of sexism and sexual harassment in the news industry and at global journalism events, is being published simultaneously on Tuesday (19 June 2018) at The Quint, European Journalism Observatory, ICFJ, Chicas Poderosas, WikiTribune, and NewsMavens. The letter was triggered by incidents during WAN-IFRA’s World News Congress in Portugal earlier this month.” 


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “Call for proposals: Photographs illustrating journalists doing their job” 

“UNESCO is inviting professional photographers from all over the world to send a sample of their best photographs illustrating journalists while doing their job.” 


Global Editors Network (GEN): “Data Journalism Awards 2018 Winners” 

“The Jury, presided over by Paul Steiger, selected 13 winners (and one honorable mention) out of the 86 finalists for this year’s Data Journalism Awards competition.” 

See also: 

Marianne Bouchart: “This is what the best of data journalism looks like” 


Southeast Asia 

TIME: “Press Freedom Is Under Attack Across Southeast Asia. Meet the Journalists Fighting Back” 

“Last year, all 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations landed in the bottom third of Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index of 180 countries. Four have plummeted over the past year alone as arrests and online harassment increase.” 

See also: 

Asia Sentinel: “Media and Politics in Southeast Asia” 


Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet): “How ‘Hoax’ Hysteria Used to Justify Tighter Internet Laws and Repress Free Expression in Southeast Asia” 

“In some countries, the government use ‘fake news’ as an excuse to silence criticism. While in some other, the government use ‘fake news’ to justify their action against humanity…” 


New Naratif. “Filling the Gap: Gender bias in the media” 

“The study, which analysed the content of 49 Burmese and ethnic language media outlets in the country over the course of a month, found that over 80% of sources in local Myanmar media are men—and that was even after including the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi…. According to Ellie Swindon, IMS-Fojo Myanmar’s gender advisor, the grim results were not entirely unexpected. And it’s not just Myanmar that’s doing so poorly; the results of their study aren’t too far off the conclusions of similar studies in the rest of Southeast Asia.” 



The Phnom Penh Post: “Government hits back at UN human rights officials” 

“Cambodian officials have accused two United Nations (UN) human rights experts of interfering in its internal affairs when they commented on the freedom of opinion and expression in the Kingdom and the media code of conduct for the July 29 national elections.” 


The Phnom Penh Post: “Third violator of lèse majesté law arrested” 

“A third person has been arrested under the Kingdom’s newly passed lèse majesté law over the weekend for a series of Facebook posts, according to the municipal court prosecutor…. The court official said the suspect faced charges for insulting the King and threatening his life … The suspect, identified as Ieng Cholsa, was arrested in Boeung Keng Kang II commune in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district on Thursday (14 June 2018).” 


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Cambodian Court Summons Former Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy on Lèse-Majesté Charges” 

“A court in Cambodia has summoned former president of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy as a suspect in a lèse-majesté case, after he called a letter from the country’s king endorsing upcoming elections ‘legally worthless….’ On Tuesday (19 June 2018), Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok issued a summons ordering Sam Rainsy to testify at the Prosecution Office on the morning of July 12 for ‘insulting’ King Norodom Sihamoni in statements posted to his Facebook page beginning in June.” 

See also: 

The Phnom Penh Post: “Rainsy stands by ‘King’s letter under duress’ claim” 



The Jakarta Post: “Police to conduct autopsy on deceased journalist” 

“The South Kalimantan Police have ordered an autopsy on the body of deceased reporter Muhammad Yusuf to determine the cause of his death … Yusuf’s family, he said, had asked the police to conduct the autopsy after June 29, as they were still mourning his death…. Muhammad Yusuf, a reporter for online news portal kemajuanrakyat.co.id, died on June 10 at Kotabaru Regional Public Hospital in South Kalimantan while being detained on defamation and hate speech charges.” 

See also: 

Mongabay: “Indonesia to investigate death of journalist being held for defaming palm oil company” 



Malay Mail: “Allow media back into Perak state assembly hall, says former Speaker” 

“Former Perak state legislative assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar wants the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration to allow the media back into the assembly hall to cover future sittings…. The Batu Gajah MP, who held the post of Speaker from 2008 to 2009, said this would promote press freedom and allow reporters to provide fair and accurate coverage of the state assembly.” 


Voice of America (VOA): “Press Climate Shifting in Malaysia” 

“In Malaysia, there’s eagerness and a bit of skepticism about what appears to be the beginning of a new dawn for press freedom.” 

See also:

Malay Mail: “Freedom of speech must be upheld, says Subang Jaya assemblyman” 

The New York Times: “Hopes for New Era of Malaysian Free Speech Are High, but Pending” 



Reuters. “Myanmar officer in Reuters case broke police code by copying statements: lawyer” 

“A police witness in the case against two Reuters reporters accused of possessing state secrets in Myanmar is ‘unreliable,’ the reporters’ lawyer said on Monday (18 June 2018), because he obtained testimony from previous witnesses, in violation of police code…. Prosecution witness Police Major Tin Win Maung, a senior officer involved in the inquiry into the journalists, told the court he had applied for copies of statements made by all other witnesses.” 

See also:

Exclusive: Pope urges press freedom, cites case of jailed Reuters reporters” 

The Irrawaddy: “Court to Decide on July 2 Whether to Charge Reuters Reporters” 

Coconuts Yangon: “Pope Francis cites jailed Reuters reporters in appeal for press freedom” 


Asia Times: “In Myanmar, a free media is still a pipe dream” 

“On average, journalists believe that they have less freedom compared with one year ago and that the overall level of freedom of expression in the country has declined as well.” 


The Irrawaddy: “Man Arrested for Fake Facebook Post on ‘Shootout’ in Rakhine” 

“Mrauk-U Township police have brought a charge against the owner of the Facebook account named ‘Myat Thu Tun’ for sharing false news about the conflict in Rakhine State under Article 68 (a) of the Telecommunications Law.” 


East Asia Forum: “Upgrading Myanmar’s internet connection” 

“It is also worth mentioning that Myanmar’s current Telecommunications Law of 2013 is quite restrictive with regard to citizens’ online freedom…. Recognising existing efforts by the government, bold strategic steps need to be taken to bridge the digital divide in Myanmar and make broadband access more equitable.” 



Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Sotto asks Inquirer.net to remove Pepsi Paloma stories” 

“Senate President Vicente Sotto III has asked Inquirer.net, website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to remove three articles that he said maliciously linked him to the withdrawal of the case against suspects in the rape of the late actress Pepsi Paloma…. Sotto’s request drew flak from the writer of the articles and from netizens who tagged it as censorship.” 

See also: 

INQUIRER.net: “INQUIRER.net’s statement on Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s request” 

ABS-CBN News: “Sotto asks Inquirer to take down stories on Pepsi Paloma rape, slay” 

Rappler.com: “Sotto asks Inquirer to remove articles on Pepsi Paloma” ; “Inquirer defers using contributions by ‘Pepsi Paloma’ writer” 


Rappler.com: “Duterte wants partial judgment for accused in Maguindanao massacre in 2018” 

“President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the prosecution panel in the Maguindanao massacre case to ensure partial ruling for some of the accused by the end of the year…. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave the update on the case during a press briefing in Cotabato on Tuesday, June 19.” 


ABS-CBN News: “Palace eyes more use of ‘spell-checker’ after blunders” 

“Malacañang on Monday (18 June 2018) sought understanding from the public after its communications arm again committed several blunders.” 

See also: 

PCOO apologizes to Gatchalian for error, promises to ‘avoid oversight’” 

philstar.com: “Palace on ‘Norwegia’ gaffe: To err is human but spell-check next time” 

INQUIRER.net. “Palace on PCOO’s Norwegia, Rogelio blunders: ‘Let’s give them slack’” ; “Gatchalian on PCOO blunder: Accuracy is important in gov’t communications” 

Rappler.com: “After ‘Norwegia’ gaffe, Roque hopes PCOO can boost spell-checking” 

InterAksyon.com: “Does PCOO have the ‘smallest budget’ in government?” 

GMA News: “PCOO apologizes to Gatchalian after online blunder” 



NewsBTC: “Vietnam Internet Crackdown Damages Plans to Become Blockchain Hub” 

“Vietnam legislators approved a cybersecurity bill on June 12 putting tighter rules on tech companies from the start of 2019. Vietnam has been recognised as a potential hub for blockchain activity but doubts still remain over regulatory uncertainty.” 



All information and materials in this roundup are for general information and use only and do not constitute any advice or recommendation.

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