WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (26 August – 1 September 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)



Save press freedom from escalating assault in Cambodia




Burma News International (BNI)
BNI urges government to promote ‘crucial’ ethnic media development



Khmer Times: “News chief says freedom now in peril

“The Cambodia Daily newspaper, which has been hit with a $6 million back tax bill and faces assets seizure and possible closure, yesterday (28 August 2017) stated that press freedom is under attack and called for an investigation into state officials leaking confidential information.”

See also:

The Phnom Penh Post: “Cambodia Daily calls government action ‘assault’ on the press” ; “Government-aligned Fresh News seemingly a bludgeon for ruling party
The Cambodia Daily: “Anger Mounts as Radio Purge Knocks 19 Stations Off-Air” ; “In Bid to Muzzle Critics, CPP Exploits Facebook
Voice of America: “Cambodia Crackdown on Media, NGOs Draws Strong International Condemnation” ; “Cambodian Media Crackdown Seen as Key Step by Government Ahead of 2018 Elections” ; “Restrictions on Media Will Impact Upcoming Election: Expert
Radio Free Asia (RFA): “ASEAN MPs Warn of Rights Deterioration in Cambodia Amid NGO, Media Crackdown
South China Morning Post: “Is this the beginning of the end for Cambodia’s free press?
The Washington Post: “Suddenly it’s open season on the press in Cambodia


The Phnom Penh Post: “Facebook post insulting Hun Sen leads to woman’s arrest

“Banteay Meanchey Provincial Police arrested a 31-year-old woman on Saturday (26 August 2017) for making an allegedly insulting comment aimed at Prime Minister Hun Sen on a Fresh News article posted to Facebook.”



BenarNews: “Critics Lament Lack of Transparency, Free Speech as Malaysia Turns 60

“An increasingly repressive climate for free speech and a lack of transparency and accountability in government will mar the moment as Malaysia celebrates 60 years of nationhood on Thursday (31 August 2017), according to rights advocates and local corruption watchdogs.”


Malaysiakini: “Media group slams proposal to register online news portals

“Media freedom advocacy group Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) has voiced its objections to the suggestion to register all online media portals in Malaysia with the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).”

See also:

The Malaysian Insight: “Putrajaya mulls registration of online news portals



Reuters: “Myanmar army drops charges against six journalists amid free speech concerns

“Myanmar’s military on Friday (1 September 2017) dropped charges against six journalists facing trial on offences ranging from defamation to unlawful association, saying it wanted to work with the media in the interests of the country and its people.”

See also:

The Irrawaddy: “Military Withdraws Cases Against Detained Journalists
Myanmar Times: “Military has dropped charges against journalists, activists”
Mizzima: “Two reporters charged under section 66(d) granted bail
DVB: “Military drops cases against six journalists, including DVB duo


The Irrawaddy: “Rights Commission Submits Report on Jailed Journalists

“The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) has submitted its findings and suggestions on the case of three detained journalists in northern Shan State to the defense ministry after its members visited the reporters in Hsipaw Prison.”



Al Jazeera: “Rodrigo Duterte, Kian Loyd Delos Santos and the media

“Fifteen months into his presidency, Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on the drug trade does not seem to be slowing down…. The Philippine president says he wants to kill as many people involved with drugs as possible and lists his critics as ‘public enemies’. Journalists are among the people on that list, and now, NGO workers have also been moved into that category.”


VERA FILES. “VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Did Duterte sign a new law that criminalizes fake news?

“Lawyer Marlon Anthony Tonson of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance said the new law refers only to the adjustment of fines and not the creation of a brand new felony, in this case, fake news.”

See also:

The Philippine Star: “Spreading fake news now a crime
INQUIRER.net: “Stiffer penalties await publishers of fake news
CNN Philippines: “You may be fined up to P200,000 for publishing fake news


InterAksyon: “House public info panel makes fresh push for FOI

“The House of Representatives’ committee on public information has renewed efforts to pass the Freedom of Information bill, which has remained pending for funding at the committee on appropriations since February.”

See also:

INQUIRER.net: “House public info chair calls for support for FOI bill funding” ; “Gov’t agencies given deadline to upload FOI manuals on websites
GMA News: “SALNs to be posted on official sites once FOI bill is passed — solon
Rappler.com: “Can House pass an FOI bill requiring SALN uploads?” ; “Gov’t agencies told: Upload FOI manuals by October 1
manilastandard.net: “‘Most agencies have low FOI compliance’


Rappler.com. “NPC reminds media: Balance freedom of press, right to privacy

“The National Privacy Commission (NPC) reminded the media on Tuesday, August 29, to strike a balance between the freedom of the press and the right to privacy of individuals.”



Nikkei Asian Review: “Thai junta steps up internet censorship drive

“By invoking articles 112 and 116, the junta has brought Facebook to the fore of its censorship efforts.”

See also:

Bangkok Post: “(Editorial) Don’t abuse sedition law


Bangkok Post: “Abhisit says no to meddling with media

“Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has supported the principle of media self-regulation and says the state should not be allowed to interfere in the media.”


Asian Correspondent: “Thai cops expose sensitive info of nearly 800,000 in online gaffe

“Sensitive information of nearly 800,000 residents of Thailand has been made accessible online in yet another blunder by authorities, causing public outrage and raising concerns over privacy protection in the kingdom…. According to Khaosod English, details of the residents, including full names, photos, home addresses and mobile phone numbers have been made available on a police website.”



Reuters: “Vietnam’s Facebook dissidents test the limits of Communist state

“Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang this month called for unspecified tougher internet controls in the face of ‘hostile forces’ that he said threatened not only cybersecurity but also ‘undermined the prestige of the leaders of the party and the state’…. But taming the internet in a young, fast-growing country is not easy, especially when the companies providing the platform are global.”


VN Express International. “Over 100 government secrets leaked online in Vietnam: report

“Cyber attacks are exposing multiple loopholes in the country’s national security information system…. Vietnam’s national security is at threat from cyber attacks, and more than 100 government secrets have been leaked since last year, officials said at a meeting on Friday (25 August 2017).”



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

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