Weekly Media Roundup (18 – 24 August 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) 

[Regional] As press freedom declines, so does religious freedom in Southeast Asia

 

[Cambodia] 

Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM). Statement: CCIM calls for a complete drop of all charges against two former RFA reporters

 

Drop Fabricated Charges against ‘ADHOC 5’

 

[Philippines] National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). “On Zaldy Ampatuan’s furlough, NUJP asks: Where are state prosecutors in this?” 

See also: 

Justice Now! “Pahayag ng mga pamilya ng mga biktima ng Ampatuan Massacre tungkol sa panandaliang paglaya ni Zaldy Ampatuan (Statement of the families of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre about Zaldy Ampatuan furlough)” 

 

Cambodia 

Reuters: “Two Cambodian journalists facing spying charges freed on bail” 

“Two Cambodian journalists charged with espionage for filing news reports to a U.S.-funded radio station were freed on bail on Tuesday (21 August 2018), in a move seen by a rights group as a government bid to improve its image weeks after a disputed election…. The case of the two reporters, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, compounded concern about a crackdown on criticism and dissent by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who extended his rule of more than three decades in a general election in July.” 

See also: 

The Phnom Penh Post: “RFA ‘spies’ released on bail” ; “CCIM: Drop journos’ charges” 

 

Al Jazeera: “Cambodia rights activist freed from jail after pardon” 

“An award-winning Cambodian land rights defender has been freed after spending two years in prison on charges many viewed as politically motivated…. Surrounded by her two children and hundreds of supporters in the capital, Phnom Penh, on Monday (20 August 2018), a visibly exhausted Tep Vanny said she was released without warning.” 

See also: 

Civil Rights Defenders: “Land Rights Activist Tep Vanny Released From Prison” 

Amnesty International. “Cambodia: Land rights activist Tep Vanny released from prison following royal pardon” 

 

Indonesia 

The Jakarta Post. “BREAKING: Buddhist woman imprisoned for complaining about mosque’s speaker” 

“A Chinese-Indonesian woman of the Buddhist faith has been sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for complaining about the volume of the azan (Islamic call to prayer) that was blasted from a speaker of a mosque near her house…. Meiliana, 44, a resident of Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, was found guilty of blasphemy as stipulated under articles 156 and 156A of the Criminal Code on blasphemy, the Medan District Court said on Tuesday (21 August 2018).” 

See also:  

Jakarta Globe: “Blasphemy Conviction Against Buddhist Woman Seen as Threat to Freedom of Expression” 

Al Jazeera: “Indonesia jails woman for ‘insulting Islam’ over mosque ‘noise’” 

Mail Online: “Indonesian woman jailed for complaining about mosque noise” 

Amnesty International. “Indonesia: Prison sentence for blasphemy over mosque noise complaint must be reversed” 

 

Malaysia 

Free Malaysia Today: “Anwar’s defamation suit against TV3, Mazlan to be settled out of court” 

“The High Court today (24 August 2018) adjourned till next Wednesday to record a possible settlement of a defamation suit filed by Anwar Ibrahim against Mazlan Ismail, Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd (TV3) and Utusan Melayu…. The PKR leader had filed the suit against Mazlan, who was the Barisan Nasional candidate for Permatang Pauh constituency in the 2013 general election, and the Umno-controlled media for implying that he had bribed the judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.” 

See also: 

The Star: “TV3, Mazlan Ismail agree to apologise to Anwar in defamation suit” 

Malay Mail: “Court to record settlement for Anwar’s defamation suit Aug 29” 

 

New Straits Times: “Ministry to look into amending Communications and Multimedia Act section said to stifle freedom of expression” 

“The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is looking for the most feasible option to amend Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA)…. Its minister, Gobind Singh Deo, said following the recent repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act, the ministry was now studying to bring changes to parts of Section 233, a section of the law which he deemed as offensive and needed to be amended.” 

 

The Star: “Freedom of Information Act will be done in stages says Nurul Izzah” 

“The Pakatan Harapan federal government is committed to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) in line with its election manifesto…. Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar pledged that the law will be formulated in stages…. The plan is to make sure that the various parliament Select Committees are put in place before the FIA is finally enacted.” 

 

Myanmar 

Reuters: “Reuters journalists face verdict next week on Myanmar secrets charges” 

“The judge in the trial of two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar on accusations of obtaining secret state documents said on Monday (20 August 2018) he will deliver his verdict on Aug. 27, in a case seen as a test of press freedom in the fledgling democracy…. The judge set the date after hearing closing arguments from both sides, during which lawyers for the two journalists said they had been ‘trapped’ by police in an effort to interfere with their reporting of a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.” 

See also: 

Myanmar verdict in Reuters reporters’ case August 27: judge says” ; “Reuters statement on jailed reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Aug 20” 

Myanmar Times: “A test of the judiciary and press freedom in Myanmar” 

 

Myanmar Times: “New Myanmar Press Council committee members challenged to fix Media Act” 

“The Myanmar Press Council (MPC) has elected 10 new committee members from among 53 candidates who vied for the position…. Among those elected in Saturday’s (18 August 2018) polls were five people from media organisations, two from writers’ organisations and three independents.” 

See also: 

Frontier Myanmar: “Maligned press council elects new members” 

 

Philippines 

Rappler.com: “PDEA restricts Rappler coverage access after story on P6.8-B shabu” 

“On Friday, August 17, the spokesman of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) unceremoniously removed Rappler reporter Rambo Talabong from the Viber group for journalists covering the agency…. Mr Derrick Carreon did this after several days of privately messaging our reporter to express disapproval of how we had been pursuing information, documents, and all possible angles on the issue of the P6.8 billion worth of shabu that PDEA said got past the customs bureau.” 

 

INQUIRER.net: “Zaldy Ampatuan attends daughter’s wedding” 

“Former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan has attended his daughter’s wedding on Tuesday (21 August 2018)…. Ampatuan is one of the principals accused in the November 23, 2009 massacre where 58 people were killed including more than 30 journalists.” 

See also: 

Granting furlough to Zaldy Ampatuan ‘assault’ to Maguindanao massacre victims—solon” 

philstar.com. “Ampatuan massacre victims’ kin: ‘How are we supposed to feel?’” 

CNN Philippines: “Palace, Maguindanao victims’ kin dismayed by Ampatuan furlough” 

 

Rappler.com: “KBP reprimands RJ Nieto for ‘personal attack’ vs Rappler reporter” 

“Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) reprimanded pro-Duterte blogger RJ Nieto, also known as Thinking Pinoy, for making a personal attack against Rappler reporter Pia Ranada during a radio program on DWIZ…. A letter containing the decision, dated May 31, 2018, was received by Ranada on Wednesday, August 22.” 

 

GMA News: “(Opinion) Law, ICT, and Human Rights | Freedom of Information and Data Protection” 

“Freedom of Information (FOI), also called the ‘right to information’, is a fundamental human right enshrined in many international treaties, national constitutions, as well as domestic laws. The same can be said of the right to privacy…. In terms of intersections, a specific aspect of the right to privacy — data privacy — sometimes gets embroiled in FOI matters. For the European Union and some other jurisdictions, they prefer the term ‘data protection’.” 

 

Singapore 

The Straits Times: “Police probe Facebook graphic of flag being ripped apart” 

“The police are investigating a Facebook post showing a black T-shirt with a graphic of the Singapore flag being ripped apart by a pair of hands to reveal the Indian flag underneath…. The image, which is believed to have first surfaced on Aug 14, one day ahead of India’s Independence Day, was widely shared online when it was posted onto the Singapore Indians and Expats page on Facebook by Singapore permanent resident Avijit Das Patnaik. The page has over 11,000 members.” 

 

Thailand 

The Nation: “Students call for online protest over new ‘gag orders’” 

“Student activist group Education for the Liberation of Siam has called for the use of the hashtag ‘#studentcantsay’ on Facebook and Twitter to protest Education Ministry regulations on student conduct seen as restricting their freedom of political expression…. Anger and frustration have built up among students after the Cabinet approved the revamped regulations on August 14 banning ‘inappropriate’ shows of affection, actions likely to cause public nuisance, and public gatherings likely to cause disorder.” 

 

Bangkok Post: “Future Forward’s Thanathorn charged with computer crime” 

“Police acting on a complaint by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) have officially charged the leaders of the Future Forward Party with violating the Computer Crime Act, which could result in five-year prison terms…. Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and two other senior party members were charged by police with violating a section of the law that makes it a crime to transmit false information or information that damages the country’s stability, Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika Wanich said Thursday (23 August 2018).” 

 

Vietnam 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Vietnamese videographer beaten and harassed in prison” 

“The Committee to Protect Journalists today (20 August 2018) condemned the recent abuse of imprisoned Vietnamese videographer Nguyen Van Hoa, and called on Vietnamese authorities to stop beating and harassing jailed journalists…. Authorities beat Hoa, a reporter with Radio Free Asia, into making a forced confession used in court to convict environmental activist Le Dinh Luong, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on August 16 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, according to news reports and Rohit Mahajan, RFA’s director of public affairs, who communicated with CPJ over email.” 

 

NOTE 

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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