WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (24 – 30 September 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)

First International Day for Universal Access to Information

September 28th marks the first International Day for Universal Access to Information.

Recognizing the role of the media in ensuring transparency and accountability, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) joins the annual celebration in hope to promote and protect the right to know and access to information.



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
[Philippines] TV Reporter Assaulted by Freed Hostage’s Kin


Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
TV5’s Ed Lingao receives 2016 Award of Distinction; ABS-CBN’s Gigi Grande named 2016 Marshall McLuhan Fellow

“The Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) awarded Ed Lingao of TV5 the 2016 Award of Distinction, and the Embassy of Canada presented the plaque for the 2016 Marshall McLuhan Fellow to Gigi Grande of ABS-CBN Corporation in a ceremony held today (28 September 2016) at the AIM Conference Center, Makati.”



The Cambodia Daily: “Media Mogul Claims Victory in Journalist Feud

“The dispute between Mr. Bunveng, better known as Aja A, and journalists started last week when he branded them on-air as ‘thieves.’ Afterward, more than 20 media organizations submitted a letter to the Information Ministry asking it to demand an apology.”


The Cambodia Daily: “Timber Trader Blasts Journalists for Snitching

“A wealthy timber trader in Stung Treng province berated a group of local journalists on Friday (23 September 2016) for reporting her illicit logging activities to officials despite being paid bribes to stay quiet.”



UNESCO Jakarta: “Spreading the Right to Know on a Train Ride

“Jakarta-The passengers on the popular Jakarta-Bogor commuter train line were pleasantly surprised by a group of people in bright yellow T-shirts holding colourful banners and posters this past weekend…. It was actually part of a community outreach campaign led by the Indonesian Information Commission (Komisi Informasi Pusat) with the support from the UNESCO Office in Jakarta to help spread the message of the universal right to access publicly held information to the general public.”

See also:
Jakarta Globe: “Jakarta Boasts Good Governance on International Right to Know Day


The Jakarta Post: “Govt seeks to criminalize netizens for posting memes

“While the government and the House of Representative have failed to comply with the public’s call to revoke the controversial defamation article from the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, they have introduced further threats to freedom of expression by including a punishment for people posting texts, pictures, videos and memes deemed to incite fear or cause embarrassment in the law revision.”

See also:
The Jakarta Post: “ITE bill needs transparency


The Jakarta Post: “Censorship humiliates women, says activist

“Women’s rights activist Gadis Arivia, who is also the founder of feminist publication Jurnal Perempuan, says censorship holds back and humiliates female bodies.”



Malay Mail Online: “Emulate Selangor’s freedom of information law, C4 tells Penang

“Penang should review its Freedom of Information (FOI) law to follow Selangor’s implementation, said Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) founding director Cynthia Gabriel…. ‘We found the enactment in Selangor was much better and (while) the enactment was not great, but between the two, Selangor was better,’ she said during a FOI forum organised by Penang Institute here.”

See also:
Malaysiakini. “C4: Selangor FOI better than Penang’s” ; “Water cuts stressed need for FOI, says DAP MP


Free Malaysia Today. “Najib’s defamation suit: Harakahdaily rejects offer to settle

“PAS mouthpiece Harakahdaily has rejected an offer for settlement of the defamation suit filed against it by Prime Minister Najib Razak over 1Malaysia Development Berhad.”

See also:
The Sun Daily. “Najib should engage media more, allow more press freedom: Academic
Malaysiakini: “‘Najib should give the media more freedom to question him’


Malaysiakini: “Media veteran questions gov’t seriousness on press council

“Karangkraf Group executive editorial adviser Abdul Jalil Ali told reporters that the idea for an independent press council was mooted since the time of second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1973.”


Malaysiakini: “Another FB user nabbed for ‘insult to Johor royal’

“A 25-year-old man was arrested in Kuala Lumpur for allegedly posting insulting comments on Facebook against a member of the Johor royal family.”


The Star Online: “Making comments on social media should not be a serious crime, says don

“(Suara Rakyat Malaysia [Suaram] executive director Sevan Doraisamy) says many of the CMA (Communications and Multimedia Act 1998) cases undertaken by the police do not meet the criteria of hate speech and dangerous speech to justify arrests or prosecution. In fact, he stresses, the cases are a ‘severe threat’ to freedom of expression.”

See also:
Using social media responsibly


Free Malaysia Today: “Isma rejects freedom of individuals, expression

“Islamic rights group, Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (Isma) rejects any concept that will favour the freedom of individuals and expression above societal needs.”


Malaysiakini: “Tian Chua’s guilty verdict a ‘black day’ for free expression

“Human rights advocates have slammed the guilty verdict that the Sessions Court handed out to PKR vice-president Tian Chua in his sedition trial today, saying it is a setback for free expression.”



Eleven: “MJN circulates petition against Aim Star Network

“The Myanmar Journalist Network will file a complaint to the Myanmar Press Council over a comment made by an official from Aim Star Network Co Ltd…. In a video clip that recently went viral on social media, Aim Star Network managing director Joseph Wu [A1] said at a ceremony that media personnel from Myanmar are not professional or ethical.”


Myanmar Times: “Journalist honoured, calls for reorganisation of MNHRC in wake of child maids revelation

“While receiving two awards for his reporting this weekend, journalist Ko Swe Win called for an overhaul of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission as soon as possible.”

See also:
Coconuts Yangon: “‘Myanmar Now’ journalist honored by government for exposing abuse of teenage maids


Coconuts Yangon: “Man convicted for defaming Myanmar’s new president on Facebook

“The defendant, Aung Win Hlaing, who also goes by Anyar Thar, was convicted on September 23 under the same article – 66d – of the much-loathed telecommunications law that was applied to several cases last year.”



The Freeman: “Andanar to executive department agencies: Update sites by November

“Presidential Communication Secretary Martin Andanar is giving all government agencies under the Executive Department until midnight of November 24 to update all their websites in compliance with the implementation of the Electronic-Freedom of Information.”

See also:
Sun.Star Cebu. “Online FOI coming soon: Andanar
PIA: “Cebu Province 1st to issue local FOI directive
INQUIRER.net: “Poe’s panel wraps up FOI hearings, sees passage before year ends” ; “FOI is for the people, not just the press–Poe
Manila Standard. “Poe: FOI done by yearend


Cebu Daily News. “Justice Secretary: Junk libel case vs. Nalzaro

“The libel case filed by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña against tri-media personality Pablito ‘Bobby’ Nalzaro has hit a snag…. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered Prosecutor Jesus Rodrigo Taga-an to withdraw the libel suit filed against Nalzaro before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City, saying there’s no sufficient basis to indict the broadcast journalist.”

See also:
Sun.Star Cebu. “Nalzaro: DOJ orders my libel case withdrawn


BusinessMirror: “CEGP hails dismissal of libel case versus UP Baguio editor

“The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) has hailed the acquittal of former University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio Outcrop Editor in Chief Jesusa Paquibot in the libel case filed against her by a UP professor in 2011.”

See also:
Sun.Star Baguio: “Prof loses libel case
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Professor loses libel case vs student


Rappler.com: “Bots, paid trolls are ‘purveyors of artificial ignorance’

“Transparency and accountability advocates warned against the increasing number of bots and paid trolls online, calling their presence the downside of evolving technology today.”

See also:
In a time of trolls, PH journalists urged to ‘come together’
The Freeman: “Dealing with social media realities



The Straits Times: “Amos Yee jailed 6 weeks, fined $2k

“The 17-year-old (blogger Amos Yee) was given six weeks’ jail and fined $2,000 in total for eight charges – two for failing to turn up at a police station and six for intending to wound the feelings of Muslims and/or Christians.”

See also:
Al Jazeera: “Singapore jails Amos Yee for religious ‘insult’
BBC: “Singapore jails teen blogger Amos Yee for anti-religion posts
The Express Tribune: “Singapore rebel teen jailed for anti-religion posts
CNN: “Singapore teen blogger Amos Yee jailed over social media posts


The Straits Times: “MDA advisory committees flag advertising on public broadcast media in new report

“Care should be taken with the presentation of advertisements on public television and radio programmes, according to the latest report from the Media Development Authority’s Public Advisory Committees (PACs).”



The Nation: “Chai Bunnag files new libel suit against NMG

“Chai Bunnag has sued Nation Multimedia Group executives at the Criminal Court for alleged libel and violation of the Computer Crime Act, although public prosecutors dropped an earlier case against them.”


Bangkok Post: “Struggling industry leaves reporters squirming for survival

“…not only is it conceivable that the old media will die out altogether in the foreseeable future, but media professionals will also struggle to survive, as they face difficulties in making their transit from their old role to a new one.”


Prachatai English: “Thai authorities prevent press briefing on state-sponsored torture

“Police and public officials have prevented a press briefing by Amnesty International (AI) on a report about state-sponsored torture, saying that the AI speakers might be charged for not having work permits.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “Amnesty slams govt for blocking torture report
The Nation: “Thai authorities bar Amnesty International talk on torture
The New York Times: “Amnesty’s Thailand Torture Allegations Spark Arrest Threat


Khaosod English. “Thailand’s new online fad: Social surveillance

“It’s part of a trend in which people are under watch by their own peers – possibly even friends and family – on social media. A recent report one year in the making by a London-based nonprofit found that Thailand’s constitutional guarantees of privacy are threatened by so-called social surveillance, a practice encouraged through direct and indirect measures by the military regime.”


Reuters. “Exclusive: Thailand considering tougher tax collection rules for internet, tech firms

“Thailand is studying plans to toughen tax collection rules for internet and technology firms like Alphabet Inc’s Google, the head of the Revenue Department told Reuters, as the tax affairs of these firms comes under growing scrutiny in Southeast Asia.”



Daily Mail Online: “Vietnamese court decisions against bloggers, activist troubling -U.S.

“Well-known Vietnamese political blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, 60, and his assistant, Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, 36, lost their appeal on Thursday (22 September 2016) when a higher court upheld their jail terms and reaffirmed they had abused their freedom and hurt the state’s interests.”



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

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