WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (25 February – 3 March 2017)

Here are some of the press freedom- and free expression-related events and issues you might have missed last week:



Khmer Times: “PM warns of media anarchy

“Prime Minister Hun Sen warned the media yesterday (27 February 2017) that he was determined to maintain social order, citing US President Donald Trump’s exclusion of some news outlets from a White House briefing.”

See also:
The Phnom Penh Post: “Trump ban cited in media threat
The Cambodia Daily: “CPP Looks to Donald Trump’s Rhetoric on Media Relations
VOA News: “Cambodia Threatens Media Outlets, Using Trump as Justification
Asian Correspondent: “Dictators are using Trump to veil attacks on press freedom



The Jakarta Post. “COMMENTARY: How effective is media verification in stopping fake news

“Stressing its desire to protect the public from the plague of fake news on social media, Indonesia’s Press Council recently announced the names of media companies listed as ‘verified’. It claims the verification process is aimed at creating a healthy media environment. Like it or not, such media verification has brought back dark memories of press control under former president Soeharto.”



Malay Mail Online: “Censorship killing Malaysian film industry, filmmaker says after Lena Hendry conviction (VIDEO)

“The conviction of activist Lena Hendry over a documentary screening raises concerns that government censorship will kill the country’s filmmaking industry, a filmmaker said today (27 February 2017).”

See also:
Activist: Must we send wedding videos to government censors now? (VIDEO)
Free Malaysia Today: “Film Censorship Act is a bad law, says activist
Asian Correspondent: “Film censorship is being used to quell discourse in Malaysia


Aliran. “Zunar’s travel ban challenge: Judge agrees to recuse herself

“Judge Hanifah Farikullah agreed to recuse herself from hearing Zunar’s case challenging the travel ban imposed by the Malaysian government at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 8 February, the cartoonist has said.”



Frontier Myanmar: “The muzzling of the Myanmar Times

“Most fundamentally, it reveals a differing attitude to freedom of expression, between those who come from a culture where it is a paramount responsibility of journalists and those who believe it is contingent on protecting the common good…. Several of those who commented publicly on events at the Myanmar Times said they felt an ethical responsibility to explain what was happening at the paper if, as it appeared, the conflict between editors and management could not be resolved internally. To management, such an action was not only a breach of its professional guidelines, but a potentially criminal act.”


Frontier Myanmar: “Questioning the government’s commitment to media freedom

“It is almost a year since the change of power to the National League for Democracy government, led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi…. The NLD campaigned under a slogan to realise a ‘democratic federal union’ but some have questioned its commitment to one of the essential elements of a democratic system: a free media. Some journalists and other observers say there is less media freedom now than under the government of President U Thein Sein.”



Bulatlat.com: “Union busting seen as motive behind job massacre at TV5

“The union at TV5 and media groups believe that the sudden retrenchment of more than a hundred workers aims to weaken the union…. On Feb. 24, over a hundred employees – four of whom are union officers and 98 are union members – were told that they could no longer report to work starting that day.”

See also:
Philippine Daily Inquirer. “Biz Buzz: Bloody Friday at TV5” ; “No more job cuts at TV5, says MVP


Al Jazeera: “Journalism in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines

“Marites Vitug, Rappler’s award-winning investigative journalist and editor-at-large, spoke to Al Jazeera about the challenges of reporting the anti-drug move under the president whose contempt for the media resonates elsewhere in the world where the populist right grows.”

See also:
Manila’s nightcrawlers capture Duterte’s drug war
The Atlantic: “‘Have We Opened the Gates of Hell With Our Images?’



Asia One: “BBC tries to grill PM Lee on press freedom and here’s how he responded

“Sackur sought a response from Mr Lee by saying that Tim Farron, a leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK, had apparently suggested: ‘If we’re to seek a deal with Singapore, Theresa May the Prime Minister, must raise issues of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in any trade talks with Singapore.’ With that, Mr Lee offered this comeback: ‘I don’t see you being restrained in asking me any questions.'”



Global Freedom of Expression: “Freedom of Expression in Thailand During 2016

“It is more than two years since the military seized control in Thailand and established a military junta called the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to govern the nation. However, since the coup on May 22, 2014 there has been little, if any, improvement in freedom of expression rights which are being suppressed in a variety of ways by the junta. Human rights defenders and activists as well as their family members reportedly remain under threat from exercising their rights and by the end of December 2016 around 1000 people had been summoned, charged or arrested and 300 had been tried by military courts.”


The Nation: “Appeal Court refuses to let ‘Pai Dao Din’ free on bail

“The Court of Appeal in Khon Kaen on Wednesday (1 March 2017) upheld a criminal court decision to reject activist Jatupat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpatraraksa’s bail request, on the grounds the activist showed a tendency to ridicule state power and could cause trouble for authorities.”


The Nation: “AIS accidentally confirms ‘secret’ operation to block mobile phone and internet service at temple

“AIS, the country’s largest mobile phone operator, may be paying the price for offering good customer service…. When a client complained about poor signal in the area near the besieged Dhammakaya Temple, the company apologised for the inconvenience and said that ‘the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has asked AIS for cooperation to restrict mobile phone usage in areas under control [declared by Article 44] in Pathum Thani….’ However, the signal block was meant to be part of a covert operation at the besieged temple.”



The 88 Project: “Mẹ Nấm’s temporary detention extended for another three months

“Blogger Nguyễn Ngọc Như Quỳnh – Mẹ Nấm’s temporary detention was extended for another three months, yet her family did not receive any written notice. Ms. Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Lan, Mẹ Nấm’s mother, told VOA on February 23 that Khánh Hòa province’s People’s Procuracy had signed a temporary detention extension order for her daughter on January 13, but she has not yet seen the written document. All notices thus far have been given to her ‘verbally.'”



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

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