WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (17 – 23 September 2016)

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



The Jakarta Post: “Restrictions for foreign journalists in Papua questioned

“The Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), an international network of media assistance groups, is drawing attention to the Indonesian government’s policy to restrict foreign journalists from covering Papua. This concern is related to Indonesia’s appointment as the host country for World Press Freedom Day in 2017.”


The Jakarta Post: “Local media face global competition

“The rise of digital technology not only forces conventional media outlets, particularly newspapers, to adjust to the changing habits of readers, but also places them in competition with global media giants seeking to broaden their audience.”


The Jakarta Post: “Media on quest to find counter narrative to fight radicalism

“Indonesian media outlets have learned to avoid being easily exploited by radical groups, media pundits have said.”

See also:
Media critical in countering radicalism


The Jakarta Post: “Indonesia faces real threats on free speech rights

“According to data compiled from January 2015 to May 2016 by the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFENET), there has been an increasing number of crackdowns on freedom of expression in both real life and on the internet.”

See also:
Deutsche Welle: “Indonesia’s Internet law ‘limits freedom of expression’


The Jakarta Post: “LGBT persecution continues with apps ban

“In what can be seen as another attack on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Indonesia, the government has decided to ban apps designed for LGBT people due to allegations that they are being used to facilitate child prostitution rings.”

See also:
Negative news reports trigger LGBT persecution


Indonesia Investments: “Can Indonesia Become the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia?

“In June 2016 the ‘1,000 digital startup movement’ was launched by Indonesia’s Communication and Information Ministry in cooperation with KIBAR, the nation’s technology startup ecosystem builder. This government-backed program targets to see 1,000 startups in the digital economy by the year 2020 with a combined valuation of USD $10 billion.”



Malay Mail Online: “Don’t criminalise free expression, Amnesty tells Putrajaya

“Amnesty Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni expressed concern that the recent arrests and police investigations over tweets indicated that freedom of expression was increasingly being stifled in Malaysia.”


Malay Mail Online: “Media control no longer works, forum told

“Technological advancements have made it impossible to try and control the dissemination of news, a forum on press freedom was told today (20 September 2016).”

See also:
Malaysiakini. “Forum: Gov’t shackles mean no ‘Merdeka’ for Malaysian media
The Star Online. “Editor: There’s no such thing as absolute freedom


New Straits Times Online: “A goat chased me in court

“In a man’s world: In the 1960s, not many young women dared venture into an office full of men with hopes of fitting in. But that’s exactly what Lakshmi Natarajan did, with class, resolution and courage. The New Straits Times’ first woman journalist tells Audrey Vijaindren about her 55 years of ups and downs in the profession”



National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “[Statement] NUJP deplores threats against journs; urges end to media blame

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) deplore the recent social media attacks on our colleagues, freelance journalist Gretchen Malalad, and Al Jazeera correspondent Jamela Alindogan-Caudron, which have gone beyond legitimate criticism of their professional output to outright threats on their persons.”

See also:
INQUIRER.net. “NUJP to Duterte admin: Probe threats vs journos, stop blaming media
Rappler.com. “NUJP to Palace: Investigate social media attacks vs journalists” ; “Duterte to supporters: Don’t threaten journalists
Al Jazeera News. “Philippines: Threats against journalists denounced
philstar.com: “NUJP hits cyber attacks on Time magazine reporters


INQUIRER.net: “Senate begins FOI hearings; Poe cites reasons why it should be passed

“The Senate committee on public information and mass media chaired by Senator Grace Poe has started its deliberations on the proposed Freedom of Information Act or FOI, which she hopes to get the approval of the chamber before the Christmas break.”

See also:
CNN Philippines. “Advocates to Senators: Look into FOI restrictions
The Manila Times: “Senate to scrutinize FOI exceptions
Sun.Star Cebu: “Malacañang to roll out e-FOI on November 25


Sun.Star Pampanga: “NUJP hits Pamintuan

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Pampanga Chapter has assailed Councilor Edgardo “Edu” Pamintuan, Jr. for his earlier statements perceived by newsmen as plain censorship that curtails press freedom.”


Cebu Daily News: “How to cover the President

“As Cebu media gears up for its annual commemoration of Press Freedom Week, the President’s remarks should serve as a useful reference point on how his administration would deal with the national and local media in the next six years.”

See also:
The Freeman: “The press and presidents


Cebu Daily News. Editorial: “Credibility and the challenge of keeping it

“Journalism is probably one of the few human endeavors where the greatest challenge to a practitioner is not a test of skills. In most professions, it is often this test of skills that makes or breaks a career. Not so with journalism. In this profession of serving as mirror to society, it is credibility that mainly measures a journalist to the very last ounce of his/her true worth.”


Cebu Daily News: “Online trolls a challenge to true freedom of speech

“Freedom of speech does not mean to smear reputation and ruin credibility, nor does it mean the freedom to be irresponsible and to defame…. This became the focus of a discussion yesterday as media leaders in Cebu discussed with future journalists the challenges confronting news organizations in the advent of digitalization…. Among the challenges confronting media organizations that have been leveraging on social media for wider audience reach today is how to respond to online “trolls” and negative responses from netizens.”


Inquirer Libre: “Data privacy in a hyper-connected world

“The need for data privacy will be more evident at the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), where the already hyper-connected world would be even more connected.”



Prachatai English: “Prachatai journalist, 4 activists refuse to plead guilty

“On 21 September 2016, Ratchaburi Provincial Court held a conciliation session in the case of Taweesak Kerdpoka, a Prachatai journalist, and four anti-junta activists. They were charged under Article 61 of the Referendum Act despite the fact that they did not distribute any relevant material…. The court suggested that the five defendants plead guilty, but they refused. The five insisted on fighting the case and affirmed that they were exercising their right to freedom of expression and did not in any way violate the controversial Referendum Act. The defendants also asked the prosecutor to withdraw all charges against them.”


Prachatai English: “Media sues Thai army over Rajabhakti park

“Thaipublica, a news agency known for its investigations into corruption, has sued the Thai army over alleged irregularities in the construction of Rajabhakti Park…. The news agency asked the court to demand that the RTA disclose information about the base price and other procedures related to the construction of gigantic monuments commemorating seven past monarchs being featured in the royal theme park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.”

See also:
Khaosod English: “ThaiPublica sues army for details on Rajabhakti statues


Bangkok Post: “Activist Andy Hall found guilty in Natural Fruit case

“British activist Andy Hall was found guilty of criminal defamation and breaching cyber crime laws and given a three-year suspended jail sentence over a report on labour abuse in the fruit canning sector, his lawyer said on Tuesday (20 September 2016).”

See also:
The Irrawaddy: “Thai Court Sentences UK Activist for Defamation
Prachatai English. “Thailand: verdict in Andy Hall case underscores need for defamation to be decriminalized
BBC. “Andy Hall: Thai court finds UK activist guilty of defamation
Reuters: “Thai court finds British rights activist guilty of defamation
The Guardian: “British activist found guilty in Thailand over report alleging labour abuses


Privacy International. “Friends, Followers, Police Officers, and Enemies: Social Surveillance in Thailand

“This report examines the emergence of social media based surveillance in Thailand, carried out potentially by people’s own networks of friends and family. It looks at the severe impact this has on personal privacy and points to potential solutions.”

See also:
VICE NEWS: “Thailand’s government is using child ‘Cyber Scouts’ to monitor dissent


Khaosod English: “Soldiers to monitor abstract play recognizing 1976 massacre

“Director Teerawat ‘Ka-ge’ Mulvilai of B-Floor’s production ‘Fundamental’ said he was notified by staff at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre this morning (20 September 2016) that when the play is staged Wednesday (21 September 2016), representatives from the military would be there to watch.”



Radio Free Asia: “Vietnamese Court Rejects Appeal, Sends Blogger Back to Prison

“A court in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi on Thursday (22 September 2016) rejected an appeal by well-known blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, sending him back to prison to serve out a five-year sentence for criticizing the government in his online writings…. Vinh, a former police officer also known as Ba Sam, was convicted along with his assistant Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy in March on a charge of ‘abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state’ under Article 258 of Vietnam’s penal code.”

See also:
Reuters: “Vietnam upholds jail terms for political bloggers



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

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