WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (18 – 24 November 2017)

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)


[Philippines] The media and the Duterte presidency: Impunity acute and benign, fettered flow of information

See also:

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
PROLONGED AGONY: Looking Back at the 8 Years of the Ampatuan, Maguindanao Massacre

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
NUJP statement on the 8th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre



National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
NUJP blasts Tiglao for red-tagging media orgs, journalists


Southeast Asia

Rappler.com: “Social Media | Fake news and freedom of expression in Southeast Asia

“The problem of fake news is exacerbated in Southeast Asian countries where Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states rank uniformly low on the World Press Freedom Index, with Indonesia only ranking as high as 124th out of 180 and Vietnam as low as 175th in 2017…. Social media plays an important role both as a platform for dissent and as space where disinformation can thrive, thanks to algorithms that privilege a user’s preferences. With rates of internet and mobile penetration on the rise, the region will be vulnerable to disinformation online if digital literacy rates are not able to keep up.”

See also:

The ASEAN Post: “The rise of ‘fake news’ and disinformation in ASEAN



Asian Correspondent: “‘Climate of fear’: Cambodian court charges journalists with espionage

“‘In charging two former RFA journalists with espionage, Cambodian authorities have opened the door to more serious forms of intimidation worthy of despots and dictators,’ RFA spokesman Rohit Mahajan told Reuters…. A lawyer for the two said the charges were too serious and they had merely been doing their jobs as journalists.”

See also:

The Jakarta Post: “Cambodian reporters charged with espionage for filing news to US
Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Cambodian Journalists Urge Court to Drop ‘Espionage’ Case Against Former RFA Reporters
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Two former Radio Free Asia journalists detained in Cambodia


The Phnom Penh Post: “Kingdom sees internet freedom shrink in 2017

“Despite gains in internet accessibility in Cambodia, the Kingdom is becoming increasingly restrictive in terms of freedom of expression online, according to a new report.”



Jakarta Globe: “Journalist Charged With Crashing Setya Novanto’s Car

“The Jakarta Police have charged the Indonesian television journalist who crashed the car belonging to House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto, while the latter was on the run from antigraft investigators, an official said…. Hilman Mattauch, a freelance journalist for Metro TV, is facing a three-month sentence for ‘careless driving and causing a traffic accident,’ Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Comr. Argo Yuwono said on Saturday (18/11)”


Jakarta Globe: “Police Charge Eight Officers With Torturing Journalist

“Police in Papua have charged eight of officers from the Mimika District Police with torturing a journalist from online news site Okezone, an official said on Friday (24/11).”


The Jakarta Post: “Bandung man arrested for insulting Jokowi, Iriana on Facebook

“The National Police have arrested a man over alleged hate speech and insults against President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo, First Lady Iriana and other national figures…. The suspect, 38-year-old Hazbullah, was arrested at his home in Bandung on Tuesday (21 November 2017) evening, National Police cyber crime director Brig. Gen. Fadil Imran said in a press statement on Wednesday.”



Malaysiakini: “Jan 4 hearing for Mkini’s bid to strike out Najib’s suit

“The Kuala Lumpur High Court will hear on Jan 4 next year an application by Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd and two of its editors to strike out a suit by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Umno executive secretary Ab Rauf Yusoh on a series of readers’ posts published on the media company’s website.”


The Malaysian Insight: “7 pull out of KL Biennale over ‘censorship’

“One day before its official opening, a group of Malaysian and Indonesian artists withdrew today from the Kuala Lumpur Biennale (KL Biennale) 2017, claiming that their artworks have been removed from the exhibition…. The group, a collaboration of five Malaysians from Pusat Sekitar Seni (PSS) and two Indonesians from Population Project, had produced an installation entitled Under Construction.”

See also:

The Star Online: “Cops deny seizing Biennale artwork



Free Malaysia Today: “Rohingya refugee finds her voice in journalism

“Meet Arifa Sultana, a 23-year-old journalist working at a news studio in Malaysia run entirely by Rohingya refugees…. Speaking to Al Jazeera, she said her work allowed her to speak up for her community to an international audience.”


Asia Times: “A once closed space opens in Myanmar

“Myanmar’s transition from military to democratic rule has opened certain new spaces, none more revealing than the 60 movies viewed by over 5,000 people at certain screenings at the recently concluded Memory International Film Heritage Festival 2017, or Memory Film Festival for short.”



Asian Correspondent. “Philippines: 8 years on, no justice for victims of Maguindanao massacre

“Some 58 people, including 32 media workers, were brutally murdered in broad daylight in a sparsely populated part of the town. It was the worst case of politically-motivated violence in the country’s history and the single deadliest attack against media workers in the world…. Eight years on, justice has not been served to the victims, and the agricultural plantations that surrounded the massacre site have become mute witnesses to the cries of the victim’s families for a just closure to the highly-celebrated case.”

See also:

The Philippine Star: “Government vows to resolve Maguindanao massacre in 4 years
GMA News. “Maguindanao massacre trial update: 31 accused done presenting defense
KODAO Productions: “Ampatuan massacre trial may reach resolution in 2018—NUJP
Rappler.com: “Convictions for 2 Maguindanao massacre suspects expected in 2018” ; “Duterte meets with families of Maguindanao massacre victims” ; “Student journalists on Maguindanao massacre: ‘We will never forget’
InterAksyon: “JUSTICE, FINALLY, AFTER 8 YEARS? | Ampatuan massacre victims’ kin hopeful of conviction by 2018


Rappler.com: “DILG official files libel complaint vs Rappler reporter

“An undersecretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government is suing a Rappler reporter over a series of reports about DILG officials and employees asking President Rodrigo Duterte to sack him.”


INQUIRER.net: “Radio broadcaster held in Dipolog City for libel case

“A radio broadcaster was being held by the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Dipolog City following his arrest for libel on Monday (20 November 2017)…. It was learned that Celestine Nick Carbonel, 47, of dxFL-FM, was sued by Zamboanga del Norte Representative Rosendo Labadlabad for allegedly ‘spreading fake news.'”


VERA Files: “Bill seeking to criminalize fake news ‘potentially unconstitutional’—advocates

“A coalition of Southeast Asian press freedom advocates has called on the Senate not to pass a bill seeking to criminalize fake news, calling the measure ‘potentially unconstitutional,’ and inconsistent with the country’s international treaty obligations.”

See also:

ABS-CBN News. “OPINION: SEA lawyers groups call on Senate not to pass Villanueva bill on fake news


philstar.com: “Suits by ‘sensitive’ senators threaten free speech

“Lawyer Gilbert Andres, chairman of the Advocates for Freedom of Expression Coalition-Southeast Asia (AFEC-SEA), said Friday (17 November 2017) that ‘criminalization of speech is incompatible with the right to freedom of expression.'”

See also:

Rappler.com: “Sotto eyes cyber-libel charges vs Cocoy Dayao” ; “Trillanes files cyber-libel complaint vs Thinking Pinoy blogger RJ Nieto
GMA News: “Sotto to sue Cocoy Dayao over name-calling in ‘Silent No More’ blog post” ; “‘Thinking Pinoy’ on Trillanes’ libel complaint: This is where your taxes go
INQUIRER.net: “Sotto would rather punch ‘Cocoy Dayao’ for calling him names” ; “Trillanes sues blogger for libel over ‘drug lord’ tag
manilastandard.net: “Trillanes sues blogger for libel over ‘fake news’


CNN Philippines: “Andanar: PCOO creating ‘Duterte Media Fund’ to help journalists

“The Palace said on Saturday (18 November 2017) the Duterte administration will allocate funds to support workers of the media industry…. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar revealed in a radio briefing that his office is coordinating with the private sector to create the ‘Duterte Media Fund.'”



Bangkok Post: “PM tells media to stop criticising new cabinet line-up

“Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on the media to refrain from speculating over and criticising the new cabinet line-up which is close to being announced…. Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that Gen Prayut was following up on media reports and analyses about the imminent cabinet shake-up.”

See also:

The Nation. “Online critics of govt to face stricter monitoring: Prayut


The Nation: “Pai remains in detention as cases against him edge forward

“A plaintiff witness in the case involving Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpatraraksa, a student activist accused of breaching the junta’s ban on political activities by joining an anti-coup activity in Khon Kaen in 2015, testified at the military court in the province on Monday (20 November 2017).”



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

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