Weekly Media Roundup (2 – 8 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] Press organizations condemn attack against journalist 



National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “[Statement] NUJP condemns brazen murder of Davao del Norte publisher” 



Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Cambodia to Monitor, ‘Control’ Online News Ahead of Upcoming Ballot” 

“Cambodia’s government announced Monday that it will monitor and ‘control’ online news ahead of a controversial general election in July, drawing condemnation from rights groups and watchdogs who called it the latest measure in a heavy-handed crackdown on the country’s independent media.” 

See also: 

Southeast Asia Globe. “Media | ‘We’re going to be blind’: how Cambodia defeated its free press” 

The Interpreter. “Cambodia: the unfree press” 

Reuters: “Cambodia to monitor online news ahead of July election” 


The Phnom Penh Post: “Three ministries set up web-monitoring group to look out for ‘fake news’” 

“The Cambodian government will monitor all news and social networking sites with immediate effect, ‘to prevent the spread of information that can cause social chaos and threaten national security’…. In a prakas (a regulation adopted by a minister) signed on May 23 by the ministers of information, interior, and post and telecommunication, it was noted that officials from the three ministries will form an interministry working group to investigate any online media platforms that spread ‘fake news’ before taking appropriate action under the Kingdom’s laws.” 

See also: 

Southeast Asia Globe: “Free speech | Cambodian government issues chill on online speech and publishing” 

The Diplomat: “A New Digital Iron Curtain in Cambodia?” 

Radio Free Asia (RFA). “Cambodia’s Online Information Controls in Contravention of Rights Guarantees: NGOs” 


Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP): “With Cambodia’s once-robust press freedom under fire, the ‘China model’ makes inroads” 

“As Cambodia’s once-robust press freedom comes under attack, Chinese-linked outlets have found new footing ahead of July elections, pushing the country’s media toward an authoritarian model — and bolstering strongman Hun Sen’s tight grip on power.” 



The Star Online. “Maria Chin: Protect freedom of speech, stop sedition probe on Kadir” 

“Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah (pic) has urged the police to drop the sedition probe on veteran journalist Datuk Kadir Jasin to uphold free speech and to show that things have changed since Barisan Nasional times…. In a statement on Thursday (7 June 2018), the former Bersih 2.0 chairman voiced her strong disagreement with the newsman facing investigation for sedition, stating that he was merely expressing his opinion on the monarchy.” 


Lowyat.NET: “Data Breaches | Personal data of Astro customers offered for sale online” 

“The bigger question here is whether this data breach involves only the 60,000 records put up for sale here, or could Astro’s entire customer records, which totals up to around 3.6 million be affected as well.” 


The Star Online. “Anwar: Media freedom truly important in the new Malaysia” 

“Media freedom is important in the ‘new Malaysia’, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim…. The PKR de-facto leader said that one of the challenges for the new Pakatan Harapan Government was to ensure that there was media freedom in the country.” 

See also: 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “CPJ calls on Malaysia’s Mahathir to prioritize press freedom” 


The Star Online: “Filmmakers call for reform of Film Censorship Act” 

“In line with the new government’s commitment to freedom of speech and expression, a group of filmmakers and human right activists are urging for the Government to reform the Film Censorship Act 2002…. The Freedom Film Network (FFN) has called on Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo to enable an environment where independent film makers can flourish.” 



Reuters: “Myanmar defense lawyers say documents from Reuters reporters’ phones ‘not secret’” 

“Documents Myanmar police say they found on the mobile phones of two Reuters reporters accused of possessing state secrets were not confidential, defense lawyers said on Tuesday (5 June 2018), because the information was publicly available before they were arrested.” 


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Education Officials in Myanmar’s Rakhine State File Defamation Charge Against Lawmaker” 

“Education officials in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Monday (4 June 2018) filed charges under a controversial statute against a local lawmaker for online defamation for a social media post in which he heavily criticized the state in what some said is another attack on freedom of speech in the emerging democracy.” 



Rappler.com: “Journalist shot dead by riding-in-tandem gunmen in Davao del Norte town” 

“A journalist was shot dead by riding-in-tandem gunmen in Panabo City, Davao del Norte on Thursday, June 7…. Panabo City police officer-in-charge Chief Inspector Frederic Deles confirmed in a phone interview on Thursday that Dennis Denora, publisher of community newspaper Trends and Times, was gunned down just around 1 pm on Thursday, while he was in his car with his driver along the national highway.” 

See also:

SunStar Philippines: “Journalist shot dead in Davao” 

Philippine Daily Inquirer: “‘Very influential’ pol seen in Davao journalist’s slay” 

Manila Bulletin: “Journalist killed in Panabo” 

The Manila Times: “Mindanao-based journalist shot dead” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Motorcycle gunmen slay journalist in southern Philippines” 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Newspaper publisher gunned down in the Philippines” 


World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA): “2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines” 

“The Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom award of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), has been awarded to Maria Ressa, Co-founder, CEO and Executive Editor of online news site, Rappler…. The award, made in Cascais, Portugal during the opening ceremony of the 70th World News Media Congress and 25th World Editors Forum, recognised Ms Ressa’s unwavering commitment to the values of a free press, as well as her determination to continue exposing stories of vital importance for democracy in the Philippines amidst intense pressure from the government and its supporters.” 

See also: 

Rappler.com: “Rappler’s Maria Ressa wins global press freedom award” 



POLITICO: “Will Trump stand up for free press in Singapore?” 

“When President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, it will mark the coming together of perhaps the world’s most sealed-off and press-hostile autocrat with a president who frequently rages against the media, all in a country known for its repressive views on free speech…. Needless to say, journalists are concerned over what access will be granted at the historic meeting.” 


Channel News Asia: “New framework mooted to combat online scams, misinformation in Singapore” 

“A new common framework to incorporate the various information and media literacy initiatives currently available is being developed to build up Singaporeans’ resilience against online scams and deliberate online falsehoods…. This was announced by Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran on Saturday (Jun 2) when he unveiled Singapore’s first Digital Readiness Blueprint.” 

See also:

Singapore launches first digital readiness blueprint, with inclusivity a key thrust” 

The Straits Times: “Singapore launches Digital Readiness Blueprint to help every last man cross the digital divide” 



Khaosod English: “Letters reveal UN exchange over Thai royal defamation” 

“The Thai government defended the controversial lese majeste and cybercrime laws as consistent with ‘Thai traditional and cultural values’ in response to concerns expressed by the United Nations.” 



Amnesty International. “Vietnam: Activists’ upheld convictions are a blow to freedom of expression” 

“Reacting to the news that the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam has upheld the convictions of four human rights activists and members of the Brotherhood for Democracy (BFD), Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said: ‘This is a deeply unjust decision that consigns four men, who have doing nothing more than peacefully defend human rights, to years behind bars.'” 


Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Vietnam: Withdraw Problematic Cyber Security Law” 

“Vietnam should revise its overly broad and vague draft cyber security law to bring it into compliance with international legal standards before it goes before the legislature, Human Rights Watch said today (7 June 2018). Vietnam’s National Assembly is scheduled to vote on the draft of this highly criticized law on June 12, 2018.” 



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