WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (20 – 26 February 2016)

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)

Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
Fact Sheet: Crackdown on Facebook Users Intensifies

“A recent surge in the number of people being arrested for expressing themselves online, along with related threats by senior government officials, threatens freedom of expression in the Kingdom of Cambodia.”


Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
Expect walls to close in further on freedom of expression and information

“Malaysians should be very concerned with the increased cases of Internet censorship by the government in recent months, signalling worse days ahead for freedom of expression and information in Malaysia.”

See also:
Malaysiakini: “CIJ urges vigilance over more censorship after TMI block


Global Voices: “Journalist Hit With Defamation Suit From Timor Leste’s Prime Minister Over Corruption Reporting

On the case of veteran journalist Raimundo Oki


Southeast Asia

Radio Free Asia: “Discrimination Ahead of Polls to Blame For Rights Decline in Myanmar

London-based Amnesty International in its annual report on the state of human rights in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos


The New York Times: “Reporting on Life, Death and Corruption in Southeast Asia

On the culture of impunity in the region: “But the problem in Southeast Asia seems not so much exposing the truth as doing anything about it.”



The Phnom Penh Post: “Optimism high for law on access to information

On the passage of the access to information law: “We are making progress; we are moving forward…It’s more encouraging than 10 years ago.”



Sepak@t, daily newspaper Tempo’s corespondent labor union, reported the “unilateral dismissal” of Papua-based correspondent Cunding Levi to the Ministry of Labor and Transmigration. Tempo editor-in-chief Gendur Sudarsono in a 1 December 2015 letter cited human resources issues for Levi’s termination. The newspaper ignored Sepak@t’s bipartite request supported by the Law No. 13/2013 on Labor. Despite his 15 years of service to Tempo, Levi did not receive a letter, notice, and/or compensation prior the dismissal.

KabarKota: “Sepak@t laporkan Tempo ke Menakertrans (Sepak@t reports Tempo to the Ministry of Labor and Transmigration)”

See also:
Bisnis.com: “PHK Sepihak, Sepak@at laporkan Tempo ke Kemenakertrans (Unilateral dismissal, Sepak@t reports Tempo to the Ministry of Labor and Transmigration)”
Semarangpos.com: “PHK Koresponden, Tempo dilaporkan ke Kemenakertrans (Dismissing its correspondent, Tempo was reported to the Ministry of Labor and Transmigration)”
TabloidJubi: “AJI Kota Jayapura desak Tempo kembali pekerjakan Cunding Levi (AJI Jayapura asks Tempo to rehire Cunding Levi)”
Merdeka.com: “Pemred Tempo: Tak benar ada PHK, Wartawan Daerah bukan karyawan (Tempo editor in chief: No dismissal, the Provincial journalist is not an employee)”



Inquirer.net: “Radio commentator nabbed for libel in Cagayan de Oro

Members of the National Bureau of Investigation in Northern Mindanao arrested local radio commentator Ronnie Waniwan over a libel suit on 20 February 2016.

See also:
The Gulf Today: “Broadcaster arrested for libel in Mindanao


Rappler.com: “Rappler sues Comelec chief over debates, public interest issues

Online media organization Rappler sued the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista for granting “exclusive broadcasting and livestreaming rights (of the presidential and vice presidential debates) to hand-picked partners.”


Manila Bulletin: “Freedom of speech ‘strong’ under PNoy administration, survey says

“The Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) most recent survey showed that majority of Filipinos are comfortable, liberal and firm in voicing out dissenting of favorable opinions under President (Noynoy) Aquino’s administration.”

See also:
Tempo: “Freedom of speech and the EDSA People Power of 1986
GMA News Online: “The legacy of #EDSA30: Freedom on social media



Reuters: “Malaysia blocks access to news portal for violating media law

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked access to news portal Malaysian Insider on 25 February 2016, “the latest in a series of clampdowns on media organizations that have published reports critical of the government and Prime Minister Najib Razak.”

See also:
BenarNews: “Malaysian Government Blocks News Portal Over Najib Probe Report
Free Malaysia Today: “The Malaysian Insider blocked by MCMC
Malaysiakini: “Blocking The Malaysian Insider an affront to media freedom


Aliran: “CPJ: Amid financial scandal, Malaysia increases pressure on media

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn W Crispin “on the country’s deteriorating press freedom situation”


The Malaysian Insider: “Freedom of expression not licence to insult administration, says minister

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak: “As a democratic country, Malaysia gives its people room to express differences of opinion but they cannot freely condemn and insult our leaders and the institution of the Prime Minister (national administration)…. Democracy recognises differences of opinion but insult and slander are not the culture and practice of Malaysian society.”

See also:
News Straits Times Online: “Minister Salleh lambasts ‘irresponsible journalism’ by WSJ
Malaysiakini: “WSJ has broken every rule of journalism, says Rahman
The Malaysian Insider: “Hard for Najib to sue WSJ because of Speech Act, says PMO officer
Malay Mail Online: “Bloggers registration can reduce dissemination of unverified and false information, experts say



The Irrawaddy: “Dateline Irrawaddy: ‘It’s Unacceptable That the Ministry Competes with Private Newspapers Using the State Budget’

On the role of the media and the challenges facing it as the National League for Democracy (NLD) prepares to come to power



BenarNews: “Press Freedom Group Challenges Thai Visa Rules for Foreign Media

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a “warning that a new set of Thai visa restrictions for foreign media could make it harder for reporters to cover Thailand prompted the government to issue a swift clarification” on 19 February 2016.

See also:
Committee to Protect Journalists: “Thailand tightens visa requirements for foreign reporters
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand: “Press Releases : Clarifications on the Announcement on the Revision of Guidelines for Issuing Non-immigrant Visa Category “M” (Media Visa)
Khaosod English: “Tough Media Visa Rules Meant to Discourage ‘Inaccurate Reporting’
Bangkok Post: “No visa leniency for foreign journalists
Khaosod English: “Ministry Denies Targeting Foreign Media With New Rules
The Nation: “Review of media visa guidelines wasn’t a bid to suppress news: ministry


Channel News Asia: “Thai government should ‘relax’ grip on freedom of expression: Amnesty International

Amnesty International Thailand Chamnan Chanruang on the use of laws to restrict free expression: “Governments have begun using national security issues to defend human rights abuses. It’s the crafting of a shameful culture.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “Amnesty says government suppressing rights


Khaosod English: “Citizens Should Resist Online Censorship, Advocates Say

Anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngamanong at a symposium on 18 February 2016: “Citizens have a duty to not buy into state propaganda, be critical of the powers that be and resist censorship.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “Censoring free speech, caging bright minds


Asian Correspondent: “Exiled Thai academic accuses military junta of threatening his family

“The Thai military has allegedly threatened the family of self-exiled academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor at the Center for South East Asian Studies at Kyoto University and currently a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge.”

See also:
The Straits Times: “Outspoken Thai academic’s family ‘threatened’ by military
Asia Sentinel: “Thai Junta Threatens Exiled Critic Pavin’s Family


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

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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