WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (24 February – 2 March 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)



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): “Radio Anchor Mauled in Negros Occidental



[General news]

IFEX. “Protests and a court victory amid state of emergency, constitutional amendments and media attacks: Asia-Pacific in February



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): “Media Times | Philippine Journalism Review


Southeast Asia

THE ASEAN POST: “Growing concerns for Internet freedom in Southeast Asia

“These incidents are emblematic of the region’s internet freedom being slowly eroded and has now become a cause for concern to some civil rights and internet activists. With internet penetration throughout the region at 58% and social media penetration at 55%, the curbing of digital rights could stir up discontent with a large portion of the population. Furthermore, the region’s booming digital economy could also be harmed.”

See also:

Qrius. “The dumbness of the internet: The Southeast Asian example



Voice of America (VOA) Khmer: “Cambodia’s Free Press ‘In Ruins’ After Crackdown, Campaigners Say

“Experts and activists have expressed dismay over deteriorating press freedom in Cambodia in recent months, amid a government crackdown on the political opposition, civil society and the independent media ahead of the country’s next general elections in July.”

See also:

Khmer Times: “Ministry refutes press freedom report
The Phnom Penh Post. “Cambodian media under threat: report” ; “Information Ministry claims press freedom supporters are ‘killing’ democracy
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the South East Asia Journalist Unions (SEAJU). “Government Crackdown: Cambodia’s Media on Edge


The Phnom Penh Post: “Lèse majesté law invoked against prominent monk

“Less than two weeks after a new lèse majesté law was passed by the National Assembly – and before it has even been signed into effect – litigious politician Pich Sros is invoking it against an activist monk for comments he made in a radio interview that allegedly insulted the King.”

See also:

ASEAN Today. Editorial: “Cambodia’s elites poised to gain the most from new lèse majesté law



TEMPO.CO: “Press Council to Supervise Breaking News, Running Texts

“The Press Council will supervise the campaign ads in the mass media. Press Council Chairman, Yosep Stanley Andi Prasetyo said supervision will be conducted on all news in the media including breaking news and running text on television.”



Malay Mail Online: “Sabah liberal party calls for laws to regulate online media

“Claiming a surge in fake news and hate speech, Sabah’s Liberal Democratic Party wants the government to enact legislation to regulate online content similar to existing laws for mainstream media.”



The Irrawaddy: “Judge Rejects Evidence in Myanmar Now Editor’s Defamation Case

“A lawyer for Myanmar Now editor Swe Win said he would ask a court in Mandalay to take action against the person suing his client for defamation, claiming the plaintiff had presented ‘false evidence’ in the case.”


Reuters: “‘Forgetful’ Myanmar witness in Reuters reporters’ case writes key detail on his hand

“A witness in the case of two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar told a courtroom on Wednesday (28 February 2018) that he wrote notes on his hand about where the pair were arrested to jog his memory while giving testimony.”


Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB): “MJN office to close down following anti-Wirathu gathering

“The staff of the Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN) are to be evicted from their Yangon office by the owner — a decision made just a day after they had scheduled to host a press conference involving a group of Buddhist monks who are calling for action to be taken against firebrand monk Wirathu.”

See also:

Myanmar Times: “Anti-U Wirathu news briefing cancelled” ; “Landlord bans journalists holding news conferences
Frontier Myanmar: “Govt should take action on U Wirathu hate speech, Saffron monk urges
The Irrawaddy: “Nationalist Monks Crash Press Conference Called by Critic of U Wirathu
Radio Free Asia (RFA). “Myanmar’s Religion Ministry Must ‘Take Responsibility’ For Rabble-Rousing Monks: Interview


CBSN. “Weaponizing social media: The Rohingya crisis

“It’s not just a campaign of silence — it’s one of systematic disinformation and persecution fueled by social media. In a tragic irony, some of the same digital tools the refugees consider a lifeline have been weaponized against them.”


The Straits Times: “Facebook says page of firebrand anti-Rohingya Myanmar monk Wirathu removed

“Facebook has removed the page of a Myanmar monk once dubbed the ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’ for his incendiary posts about Muslims, the company confirmed, as it faces pressure to clamp down on hate speech.”


Frontier Myanmar: “Surprise protest law amendment a return to dark past

“Amendments to the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law appear to be a knee-jerk response to recent protests in Rakhine and Kayah states and on university campuses, and threaten to further undermine the NLD’s democratic credentials.”

See also:

The Irrawaddy. “Analysis: Proposed Amendment Raises Fears About Rights to Free Expression


The National Press Club: “National Press Club and its Journalism Institute recognize Reuters journalists with press freedom award

“In a year when journalists have been targeted by governments and forces who see freedom of information as a threat to their power, the National Press Club and its nonprofit Journalism Institute are recognizing Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters journalists who have been on the front lines of the struggle, with its 2018 Aubuchon Press Freedom Award. The awards will be presented at the Club’s annual Fourth Estate Award gala in the fall.”


Myanmar Times: “Local media wants Chin State to stop publication of new journal

“Local media in Chin State are opposing the state government’s move to launch a new monthly journal, Rhododendron Times, which appeared on Sunday (25 February 2018)…. In a statement issued by media outlets under the Chin Media Network, they opposed the publication because it uses funds from national and state governments for propaganda purposes.”


Mizzima: “Mizzima Media enters Free-to-Air TV market

“Mizzima Media Group launches today (27 February 2018) a Free-to-Air TV channel in Myanmar with a strong focus on youth and the development in the country…. Mizzima is one of the five private companies that recently signed a cooperation agreement with the state-run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) to operate as content providers for digital free-to-air TV channels in a multi-playout system of MRTV with the channels.”



Rappler.com: “Omidyar Network donates PDRs to Rappler managers

“Saying Rappler should operate unhindered, philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network on Wednesday, February 28, announced it has donated its Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) to 14 Filipino managers of the social news network.”

See also:

Duterte says he banned Rappler due to ‘twisted’ reporting
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Palace ban on Rappler ‘independent’ of SEC ruling, says chief” ; “SEC: Omidyar donation must be coursed through CA



Reuters: “Singapore’s planned terror response stokes concerns over press freedom

“A proposed law in Singapore that would allow authorities to ban the transmission of images from terror attacks and reports about security operations has drawn criticism from non-government bodies and security experts as a curb on press freedom.”

See also:

Daily Mail. “Singapore terror blackout plan curbs press freedom: NGOs
Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Singapore wants to ban coverage of terrorist attacks



Khaosod English: “Student, scribe say junta crackdown will inflame movement

“A university student and a citizen journalist charged with violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings said the regime’s attempt to crush dissent by targeting a larger swath of activists would backfire.”


Timor Leste

Raimundos Oki: “Arsenio Bano expels journalist in public place

“President for the Special Regional Administrative Oe – Kusi Ambeno Authority and Special Zone for Economic and Social Market Arsenio Paixão Bano expelled the daily correspondent of Suara Timor – Lorosa’e (STL) Oe – Kusi Ambeno Abilio Elo Nini for assuming his coverage for the development process in Oe – Kusi Ambeno is incompatible with the truth.”



The 88 Project: “Activist Pham Doan Trang faces imminent arrest and prosecution

“Prominent activist Pham Doan Trang is facing risks of imminent arrest and formal prosecution in Hanoi where she is visiting her mother for Lunar New Year…. On February 24, she was arbitrarily and forcefully taken into custody by Vietnamese authorities. Her mother was tricked into opening the door for the police who posed as staff of the EU delegation coming to visit. She was abducted from her mother’s house in Hanoi at 2pm by the police to be interrogated about her recently-published book, titled ‘Chính trị bình dân’ (Politics for the Masses), without an arrest warrant. Trang was taken back home after 10 hours, at midnight, but has to continue to ‘work’ with the police in the coming days. The police warned her to not try to escape, as, they said, the area is heavily watched.”

See also:

Defend the Defenders: “Political Dissident Pham Doan Trang Freed after 10 Hours of Arbitrary Detention, Still Faces Arrest
Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Well-known Vietnamese journalist hounded, facing imminent arrest



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

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