WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (2 – 8 September 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)

Alerts:

[Indonesia]
Journalist reported to police for alleged defamation

 

[Philippines]
Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
Another Radio Broadcaster Survives Shooting Attack

 

Statement:

[Cambodia]
Media closures muzzle critical voices

 

Southeast Asia

Rappler.com: “Should governments regulate freedom of expression?

“The rise of fake news and exploitation of social media threaten democracy, analysts and politicians agreed at a conference about democracy in Southeast Asia…. But they disagreed on how to best handle it…. While representatives from government, civil society, and the academe praised the role of social media in strengthening democracies – such as citizen engagement and the quick spread of information – they also raised concerns about its downsides.”

See also:

The Washington Post. “It’s not just Burma: Human rights are under attack across Southeast Asia, advocates say

 

SUMERNET (Sustainable Mekong Research Network): “SUMERNET Media Workshop in Yangon, 25-27 Sept: Call for applications

“Applications are invited from journalists for the SUMERNET media workshop: ‘Communicating on climate change and water insecurity: Mekong and Ayeyarwady/Chindwin River Basins’ in Yangon, Myanmar, 25-27 September 2017.”

 

Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily: “Cambodia Daily Announces Immediate Closure Amid Threats

“Facing imminent threats of closure and legal action over a disputed $6.3 million tax bill, The Cambodia Daily will cease operations as of today (4 September 2017), bringing to a close more than 24 years of independent journalism.”

See also:

The Phnom Penh Post: “Daily directors barred from leaving country” ; “More condemn shutdown of Daily
Khmer Times: “Tax bill put nail in newspaper’s coffin
VOA: “A Small Paper with a Big Impact
The Conversation: “Cambodia Daily closure a major blow for freedom of information and expression in the country
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Prominent newspaper folds under official pressure in Cambodia
Amnesty International. “Cambodia: Closure of English-language newspaper a ‘disturbing’ development

 

LICADHO (Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights): “Restricting Critical Voices on Cambodian Airwaves

“Radio is a major source of public information for people living in rural parts of Cambodia where Internet access is less common…. In late August 2017, Cambodian authorities ordered the closure of 32 FM radio frequencies across 20 provinces.”

See also:

The Cambodia Daily: “Beehive, Women’s Media Center Banned From Airing Shows

 

The Phnom Penh Post: “Sokha video producer closes Phnom Penh office in fear

“The Cambodian Broadcasting Network, which carried the interview that landed opposition leader Kem Sokha behind bars, shuttered its Phnom Penh offices on Monday (4 September 2017), according to CBN President Cameron Sar.”

 

Indonesia

Coconuts Jakarta: “Activist reported to police for defamation after comparing former president Megawati with Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi

“Indonesian political activist, journalist, and filmmaker Dandhy Dwi Laksono has been reported to the police for online defamation after he compared former president and current PDI-P Chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri with Burmese politician Aung San Suu Kyi amid rising concerns in Indonesia about the plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.”

See also:

Tempo: “Tulis tentang Suu Kyi dan Megawati, Dandhy Dilaporkan ke Polisi (Writing about Suu Kyi and Megawati, Dandhy was Reported to the Police)”
Suara.com: “Dituduh Hina Megawati, Repdem Polisikan Jurnalis Dhandy (Accused of Defaming Megawati, Volunteers for PDI-P Reported Journalist Dhandy)”
Kompas.com: “Samakan Megawati dengan San Suu Kyi, Dhandy Dilaporkan ke Polisi (Comparing Megawati with San Suu Kyi, Dhandy was Reported to the Police)”
VIVA.co.id: “Dhandy Dilaporkan Repdem, AJI Indonesia Bantu Advokasi (Reported by the Volunteers for PDI-P, AJI Indonesia Helps in Advocating for Dhandy)”

 

Malaysia

Malaysiakini: “Kumpulan wartawan bantah keganasan ke atas Tamil Malar (Journo groups slam alleged violence against Tamil Daily)”

Journalist groups have condemned the alleged attack on the owner of a Tamil Malar Daily and its editor in chief by a group of MIC Youth members. Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) and Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IOJ) said physical violence against news agencies should not be tolerated.

 

Free Malaysia Today: “‘Plan to register online portals may threaten media freedom’

“An international media advocacy group has called Putrajaya’s plan to register online portals with high traffic, a possible threat to media freedom and free speech…. Reporters Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders, RSF) said such a move will also have a negative impact on online citizen journalists.”

 

Asian Correspondent. “Malaysia: Facing 43 years in jail, ‘responsibility’ keeps Zunar drawing

“Toughening censorship in Malaysia has come under the spotlight in recent years, with Zunar among the most worrying examples of where the government has tried to silence its critics through intimidation and the courts…. In August, Zunar filed a lawsuit against police for arresting him and seizing his merchandise last December. His detention was related to a police investigation under Section 124C of the Penal Code for ‘activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy.'”

 

Myanmar

Eleven: “A rock, a hard place and the media

“The media industry in Myanmar certainly is no stranger to getting into trouble with the authorities…. Each successive government had sued and jailed plenty of journalists, including the quasi-civilian government under previous President Thein Sein and the numbers only rose under the current administration ruled by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.”

See also:

Myanmar Times: “Journalists, activists welcome military move to free colleagues
Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “RSF appeals to Aung San Suu Kyi in open letter about press freedom in Myanmar

 

Channel News Asia: “BBC Burma pulls Myanmar TV deal over Rohingya ‘censorship’

“The BBC’s Burmese language service on Monday (Sep 4) said it was pulling a broadcasting deal with a popular Myanmar television channel citing ‘censorship’ as the two partners clashed over coverage of the Muslim Rohingya minority.”

 

Philippines

InterAksyon: “MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE | CA affirms RTC bail for Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan

“The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) allowing a son of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., who is one of the respondents in the Maguindanao massacre case, to be released on bail.”

See also:

The Philippine Star: “CA affirms bail for Sajid Ampatuan
The Manila Times: “CA affirms bail for Sajid Ampatuan
Rappler.com. “Maguindanao massacre: CA affirms bail for Ampatuan son

 

INQUIRER.NET: “Duterte to allow media on drug raids to disprove extrajudicial killings

“President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered police to let journalists join raids in his crackdown on illegal drugs to disprove growing allegations of extrajudicial killings, but he warned reporters they could get shot.”

See also:

ABS-CBN News: “Duterte orders cops to bring media to anti-drug operations

 

GMA News Online. “‘Lei’ speaks out: Blunders in PNA articles happened during transition to new website”

“An official of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security had assured the public that negligence and incompetence in the PNA (Philippine News Agency) ‘will be dealt with accordingly.'”

See also:

Rappler.com: “PCOO on PNA blunders: ‘Bear with us’
INQUIRER.NET: “PNA embroils website in latest blunder, messes up headlines

 

Rappler.com: “When Duterte dines with media

“The President reserved this particular courtesy for his guests that night – journalists from various media companies, the same media he has publicly rebuked and threatened; the same media his rabid online defenders would call his enemies…. That August 21 dinner is the 3rd time he has invited members of the press to spend an evening in his company.”

 

Singapore

Community Action Network (CAN), Singapore: “Police should stop harassing civil society activists

“We are disappointed that the police have decided to investigate a small gathering which was not a threat to public order. Singapore’s constitution guarantees its citizens freedom of speech and assembly. We have also been informed by some of the participants that they are not allowed to leave the country because of alleged offence.”

See also:

The Online Citizen (TOC). “(Opinion) Skipping legal procedures, are police acting as judges?

 

Thailand

Bangkok Post: “(Editorial) Media curbs will backfire

“The junta’s theory is that all media should be subservient to the government. But it isn’t, and the current plan to bypass the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press will surely backfire. It is not the media that will suffer most if it is put under the regime’s thumb. The public, already rightly sceptical of the military regime’s sometimes outlandish propaganda, will lose faith in it. A government-controlled media means more than a loss of critics. It means a loss of credibility.”

 

The Nation: “Sedition law ‘harms rights’

“Journalists slam article 116 crackdown…. The junta’s swift enforcement of the Criminal Code’s Article 116 on sedition will not only curb freedom of expression but also hinder the military government’s stated effort to develop Thai politics, panellists at a Thai Journalists Association (TJA) forum said yesterday.”

See also:

Bangkok Post: “Govt sedition cases breed fear, says HRW

 

The Straits Times. “Mainstream media can take on social media and stay ahead: Panel

“The rise of social media is often described as a phenomenon detrimental to the mainstream media, but Thai media company chairman Suthichai Yoon saw it as an opportunity.”

 

Vietnam

The Washington Post: “Apparent crackdown in Vietnam on social media, but many users undeterred

“The police in communist-led Vietnam have been cracking down especially hard on free expression over social media for the past few months…. Or, at least as far as experts, regular users and dissident bloggers can tell, that seems to be the case.”

 

NOTE

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

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