WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (26 November – 2 December 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)

[Indonesia] Members of radical religious group attack journalist, bar media coverage


SEAPA marks the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
Interview: Culture and independence in Myanmar’s newsrooms yet to improve



The Phnom Penh Post: “News article prompts lawsuit threat

“Kratie provincial police chief Lon Sophat said yesterday (21 November 2016) he would file a complaint against the CPP-aligned Kampuchea Thmey Daily newspaper after it published what it said was a detailed list of prices officials must pay him for positions on the force.”



The Jakarta Post: “Balinese columnist escapes libel charges

“Made Sudira, a Balinese cultural critic and columnist with the Bali Post, has won a legal challenge against the Bali Police’s decision to charge him with defamation and hate speech for allegedly insulting Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika on his Facebook page.”


The Jakarta Post: “Ayo Lapor post spurs debate about threats to freedom of speech

“As a pro-democracy activist, Adnan Topan found himself at the center of controversy when he recently posted on Facebook about a government-sponsored campaign Ayo Lapor (Let’s report), which calls on people to report any websites promoting hate speech, radicalism and terrorism to the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and the Communications and Information Ministry.”


The Jakarta Post: “Contempt of court charges a threat to press freedom

“Despite guarantees from the Constitution, press freedom in Indonesia may be suppressed on the back of articles in the amendment to the Criminal Code (KUHP) designed to prevent contempt of court…. These articles could see people and journalists sent to prison for insulting judges and the courts, or generating false news related to courts and judges.”



Malaysiakini: “‘Criticising gov’t not Sedition Act offence, yet Zunar nabbed’

“Cartoonist Zunar’s arrest under the Sedition Act over cartoons lampooning the government is against amendments made to Act last year, said anti-Sedition Act group Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan (GHAH).”

See also:
The Guardian: “Malaysian cartoonist arrested for criticism of prime minister Najib Razak
Reuters: “Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar arrested under sedition law
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ): “Zunar targeted again by Malaysian government and its supporters



Kumudra: A journalist based in Naypyidaw arrested under the Article 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law

On 29 November 2016, the Pyinmana Police Office arrested Maung Maung Tun, a Naypyidaw-based journalist for News Watch Weekly Journal, under the Article 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law. The arrest happened around 22:00. Lt. Col. Tin Htay said that the lawsuit came from Zaw Min Aung, a reporter from the State-owned newspaper, The Mirror.

The lawsuit was for a news report about the Myo-ma Market written by Maung Maung Tun in August 2016. On 30 November 2016, he will be brought to the Pyinmana court to get remand for trial.


The Irrawaddy: “Bail Denied for Journalists Charged Under Controversial Defamation Law

“A Rangoon court dismissed bail requests from Eleven Media Group’s CEO and chief editor on Wednesday (30 November 2016), after both were charged under the controversial Article 66(d) of Burma’s Telecommunications Law.”

See also:
Eleven: “First trial begins for Eleven Media Group CEO and Chief Editor
Mizzima: “Myanmar media execs in court on defamation charges


The Irrawaddy: “Pegu Woman Charged With Defaming State Counselor on Social Media

“Pegu Division police have arrested a woman charged with defamation under Article 66 (d) of Burma’s Telecommunications Law for sharing online posts deemed to be insulting to State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi…. Ma Sandi Myint Aung was taken into police custody on Tuesday (29 November 2016) evening and remanded on Wednesday. Her court hearing is set for Dec. 7.”



National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “[Statement] The truth can never be silenced, online and off

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines deplores the blocking by Facebook of the account of our former chairperson, respected journalist and blogger Inday Espina-Varona, at the behest of what are clearly enemies of the right to free expression and of a free press.”

See also:
Altermidya. “STATEMENT: Stop censoring journalists, reactivate Inday Espina Varona’s Facebook account now!
GMA News Online: “NUJP hits Facebook’s blocking of blogger’s account with anti-Marcos posts
Rappler.com: “Facebook suspends anti-Marcos journalist’s account



Khaosod English: “Junta weighs emergency cyber committee with censorship powers

“Citing urgent cyberthreats, a junta-appointed body Monday (28 November 2016) considered a proposal to create a temporary authority to police online content before supporting legislation is passed.”


Prachatai English: “Court dismisses charges against anti-mine activists

“On 29 November 2016, the Southern Criminal Court of Bangkok read the verdict on a lawsuit filed by Akara Resources against Somlak Hutanuwatr and Smit (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), according to iLaw…. The court, however, ruled in favour of the two activists, reasoning that the information the two shared on Facebook was based on findings of a committee that they were part of that was set up to assess the impacts of the mine.”


Khaosod English: “Need a new number? Prepare to be fingerprinted starting in February

“Fingerprints will be collected from those buying new numbers while those already with SIM cards are not required to do so. Nonetheless they are encouraged to do so as the biometric registration is intended to improve security in the age of banking by phone, according to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.”




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

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