WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (23 – 29 December 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)

Reports:

[Cambodia] SEAPA mission report on key issues related to press freedom and media environment in the country

 

[Thailand]

Thai Journalists Association (TJA): “รายงานสถานการณ์สื่อมวลชนประจำปี 2560สมาคมนักข่าวนักหนังสือพิมพ์แห่งประเทศไทย

Year 2017 was marked by aggravated media censorship and attacks on free expression imposed under the military government, and the continuing struggles of the media industry for survival.

 

Southeast Asia

CNBC: “‘Fake news’ can be very dangerous, and events this year in Asia proved it

“Fake news influenced three political events in Asia this past year, emerging as a strategic weapon for civilian and state actors to deepen societal divisions…. From elections in Indonesia to Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis to the Philippine drug war, the spread misinformation and disinformation have been used to bolster hate speech, stereotypes and propaganda.”

 

The Manila Times: “Asean should address tech, innovation challenges

“Technology and innovation may make lives easier, but they pose challenges, especially for developing countries in Southeast Asia, experts said…. Citing Asia-Pacific Forum 2017, held in Pasig City last month and with ‘Integration and Inclusiveness in a Digital Society’ as its theme, state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said experts talked about these challenges that Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) members face as they try to keep up with the fast-paced digital era.”

See also:

DIGITIMES: “Regional integration, digital economy to drive growth of Southeast Asia, says Digitimes Research
Bangkok Post: “WiFi and the return of unlimited data plans

 

Cambodia

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Cambodia Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Denying Former RFA Reporters Bail

“Cambodia’s Appeals Court on Tuesday (26 December 2017) upheld an earlier ruling that denied bail to two former RFA reporters arrested last month on charges of ‘espionage,’ according to their lawyer, who vowed to challenge the decision…. Keo Vanny told RFA that the Appeals Court upheld last month’s ruling by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on the grounds that the case involving former RFA Khmer Service reporters Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin is ‘still under investigation.'”

 

Khmer Times: “Defamation case heard

“Phnom Penh Municipal Court tried a woman on Monday (25 December 2017) for allegedly accusing Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family of being behind the murder of prominent political analyst Kem Ley…. Hin Vansreypov, 37, was arrested in July after she discussed the murder on Facebook under the name Heng Leakhena on the anniversary of Mr Ley’s death.”

 

The Globe and Mail: “In Cambodia, independent media close as Chinese content moves in

“But critical voices have been receding in a co-ordinated CPP effort to repulse Western influence and weaken political adversaries…At the same time, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has sought support from China, which has become a critical source of investment capital and is now also beginning to establish a presence in Cambodia’s media industry as well.”

 

Myanmar

Myanmar Times: “Arrested reporter’s wife accuses police of laying trap

“The wife of one of the arrested Reuters journalist said policemen placed two documents in the reporters’ hands and they were later arrested…. Ma Pan Ei Mon, who met with her husband, Ko Wa Lone at Insein prison on Wednesday (27 December 2017) for the first time since his arrest two weeks ago, spoke to a press conference in Yangon on Thursday.”

See also:

Reuters. “Reuters reporters held in Myanmar were handed papers, then arrested: families
Eleven: “Two detained Reuters reporters remanded to January 10
The Irrawaddy: “Journalists Appear in Court after 15 Days of Interrogation” ; “Pulitzer Winners Join Call for Reuters Reporters’ Release” ; “Dateline | ‘We Urge Authorities to Value Press Freedom and Protect Journalists’
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB): “Pulitzer winners add media industry clout to calls for release of Reuters reporters
Frontier Myanmar. “Reuters chief: ‘We’re in this for as long as it takes to get them free’” ; “Reuters case exposes tensions over the role of journalists
Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Political Prisoners File Complaint With UN Rights Office Over Journalists’ Detention” ; “Myanmar Court Extends Detention of Reuters Reporters
BBC. “Myanmar Rohingya crisis: Reuters reporters stay jailed
The New York Times. Editorial: “Free Detained Journalists in Myanmar
The Guardian. Opinion: “Aung San Suu Kyi once called for a free press. Now, the dead are used for fake news

 

TRT World: “Myanmar releases TRT World journalists and fixer arrested over drone

“Singaporean Lau Hon Meng and Malaysian Mok Choy Lin were working for TRT World when they were arrested on October 27 in Myanmar’s capital, Naypitaw…. A court on Thursday (28 December 2017) dropped additional charges against them, their local fixer and freelance photographer Aung Naing Soe and driver Hla Tin. They had been scheduled for release on January 5 after serving a two-month prison sentence for illegally flying a drone but were freed early.”

See also:

TRT World journalists jailed over drone to be released on Friday
Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Authorities Free Foreign Journalists Who Flew Drone For Turkish Documentary” ; “Additional Charges Dropped Against Foreign Journalists Who Flew Drone in Myanmar
Channel News Asia: “Singaporean, Malaysian journalists who flew drone near Myanmar parliament freed
New Straits Times: “After two months in Myanmar prison, Malaysian journalist, colleagues freed” ; “Msian producer released after 2 months in Myanmar prison
The Straits Times: “Joy, relief as Singaporean cameraman returns after two months in Myanmar prison
Free Malaysia Today: “M’sian journalist detained in Myanmar arrives in Singapore
The Star Online: “Malaysian freed from Myanmar jail
The Online Citizen (TOC): “Journalists freed from Myanmar prison after two months detention
Reuters: “Myanmar frees journalists working for Turkish broadcaster” ; “Myanmar police to free journalists working for Turkish broadcaster
BBC: “Myanmar frees TRT journalists jailed for flying drone

 

Philippines

Rappler.com. “FAKE: Comparison of 2015 and 2017 World Press Freedom Index reports

“A propaganda Facebook page is spreading disinformation against Rappler and Maria Ressa. Again…. A Facebook post by VovPH compared 2015 and 2017 World Press Freedom Index reports with the intent of hitting our credibility by questioning the accuracy of Ressa’s tweets and Rappler’s reports.”

 

The Philippine Star. “YearEnder: When fake news becomes legit

“‘Fake news’ seemed to have become the new normal in 2017…. With information easily spread through social media, cases of misinformation, distortion of truth and even fabrication of ‘facts’ have become one of the most common problems among online users.”

See also:

Rappler.com. “[WATCH] 20 stories in 2017: War, impunity, and disinformation

 

INQUIRER.net: “Roque says Duterte campaign team made good use of Facebook in 2016

“President Rodrigo Duterte would have been a fool if he did not utilize Facebook as a campaign tool in the 2016 presidential elections, a Palace official said on Friday (29 December 2017)…. This was in response to MSNBC’s report on how fake news spread through the online platform played a huge role in the Chief Executive’s successful election campaign.”

See also:

The Philippine Star: “Palace shrugs off report Facebook helped install Duterte
GMA News. “Palace on MSNBC special report on fake news: Duterte used Facebook to his advantage during the campaign

 

philstar.com. “Missing persons on social media: Verify, coordinate with cops

“Several cases of missing persons have been raised in social media following the successful recovery of 17-year-old Patricia ‘Ica’ Policarpio, who went missing in Muntinlupa City last week…. Policarpio’s case encouraged citizens with missing loved ones to use social media to help find them.”

 

Singapore

The Diplomat: “Singapore’s Intolerance of Dissent in the Spotlight as Police Take on a ‘Recalcitrant’ Activist

“Aside from enforcing strict media laws, Singapore only allows protests in a small corner of a public park. Even a one-person protest act is already considered a public gathering, and is outlawed in all other public areas…. While it is known that the Singapore’s police often use various means of intimidation against individuals or groups organizing a public protest, many were still surprised that the police decided to file several charges against an activist known for his peaceful advocacy, especially despite the fact that the peaceful vigil and train protest were held last July and June, respectively, while the indoor forum was in November 2016.”

 

The Straits Times: “Call to reconsider proposed changes to Films Act

“Fifty local film-makers have signed a position paper calling on the authorities to reconsider proposed changes to the Films Act…. Among them are prominent directors Anthony Chen, Jack Neo, Boo Junfeng, Kirsten Tan, K. Rajagopal, Royston Tan, Kelvin Tong and Tan Pin Pin…. A key concern in the paper – released yesterday (22 December 2017) – is the expanded powers that Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) officers will have in investigating breaches.”

 

DIGITIMES: “Singapore enhancing AI, FinTech to power digital economy

“With AI (artificial intelligence) as a core technology to drive the development of digital economy, the Singapore government is making all-out efforts to develop AI tech innovations to accelerate the digital transformation of the city state into a smart nation by 2025, while achieving smart mobility by 2030.”

 

Thailand

Thai PBS. “TJA: 2017 a bad year for Thai media industry

“2017 is regarded as a bad year for Thai media industry, both printed and digital, with media outlets, both big and small, struggling for survival from impacts of digital disruption and free expressions restrictions by the junta, according to the Thai Journalists Association’s media situation report.”

See also:

Bangkok Post. “Journalists: Regime muzzles press freedom

 

Bangkok Post: “‘Dark-side’ social media win Person of the Year

“Sometimes dubbed “dark-side” pages — referring to their tone, namelessness and sometimes vigilante intent — these “new media” outlets expose powerful people, put pressure on officials and offer channels where citizens can let off steam. They also sensationalise issues to amp up their page views, and their anonymous, Batman-like vigilantism can be a double-edged sword. But it’s undeniable that their activities have shaken up society and rattled the traditional practices of journalists — even exposed their shortcomings and failure to do their duty in this draconian climate. Among several prominent choices, the Bangkok Post has chosen these social media pages as the paper’s Person of the Year 2017.”

 

Vietnam

Mail Online: “Vietnam’s 10,000-strong ‘cyber army’ slammed by rights groups

“Vietnam routinely jails its critics and closely monitors activists on social media, which is not banned unlike in neighbouring China…. A top Vietnamese general this week said a 10,000-strong brigade dubbed ‘Force 47’ has been tasked with fighting ‘wrongful views’ spreading on the internet, according to state media reports.

See also:

BBC: “Vietnam army hires censors to fight ‘internet chaos’

 

Viet Nam News: “Conference reviews media in 2017

“The rapid growth of digital media, how traditional media can compete with social media and how the media can ensure its financial survival were among the main issues discussed at the annual national conference held yesterday (26 December 2017) in HCM City to review the media’s performance in 2017.”

 

VIETNAMNET: “Legal loophole could cause personal information to be sold to foreigners

“Protecting internet users’ personal information remains a problem in Vietnam as current laws do not mention the issue, according to Nguyen Quang Dong from the Institute for Policy Studies and Media Development (IPS).”

 

NOTE

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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