WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (27 February – 4 March 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)

Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR): “Digital Wrongs? An Overview of the Situation of Digital Rights in Cambodia

“The Briefing Note firstly provides context regarding the rise of the internet as the primary means of free political expression in Cambodia. Secondly, the legal context is analysed, including proposed laws which threaten digital rights. Thirdly, selected cases of arrests and threats on the basis of online commentary are presented. The Briefing Note concludes by making a series of recommendations to the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”), including scrapping the proposed Cybercrime Law and amending sections of the penal code.”


Southeast Asia

IFEX. “Asia Pacific: A win for net neutrality, a devastating setback for press freedom

“A summary of recent developments in the free expression landscape”


Electronic Frontier Foundation: “The State of Free Expression Online in Southeast Asia

“…the region is no stranger to Internet censorship.”



Khaosod English: “Cambodian Leaders Rev Up Facebook Rivalry

“More Cambodians rely on Facebook for news than on the radio, though television still is their leading source of information, the Asia Foundation study showed.”



The Jakarta Post: “Criminal Code revision puts free speech in jeopardy

Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers): “After drawing criticism for a plan to make defaming presidents a crime, the government may open the door to more criticism for its planned amendment to the Criminal Code (KUHP). The government’s amendment contains more articles limiting freedom of speech.”


Tempo. “KPI`s Censorship Based on Patriarchy Standards: Observer

Rocky Gerung, philosophy lecturer at the University of Indonesia, said that the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission’s (KPI) circular letter was “aimed at censoring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues in the community…. ‘This reflects the absence of open-mindedness and (the circular letter) was used to justify moral values of the majority. They’re not aware of the essence of democracy.'”

See also:
The Jakarta Post: “Self-censorship runs amok on local television


Pernyataan Sikap komite Belok Kiri-Fest Kemerdekaan Berekspresi diserang (The Committee of Belok Kiri-Fest’s Statement: Freedom of Expression was attacked)”

The committee of Belok Kiri Fest (Turn Left-Fest) deplored the Indonesian police that prohibited the discussion and launch of the book “Sejarah Gerakan Kiri di Indonesia untuk Pemula (The History of the Left Movement in Indonesia for Beginners).” The event, which held forums, workshops, and a painting exhibition, was originally planned to take place at the Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) in Jakarta on 27 February 2016. According to the committee, the behavior of the police was “unreasonable” as it is unusual for them to require permits for festivals. (Tempo magazine reported: the police tightly guarded the press conference on the festival ban. Prior to the press conference, the Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders Front/FPI) and the Islamic Students Association (HMI) conducted a demonstration against holding such a festival for fear of spreading communism.)

See also:
Tempo: “Diprotes, Belok Kiri-Fest digeser ke LBH Jakarta (After the protest, Belok Kiri-Fest moves to LBH Jakarta)”


Jakarta Globe: “Social Media, Our Fast-Growing Baby

During the Social Media Week in Jakarta, a commentary on “the unequivocal importance of social media in the evolving world of news media”



Asia Sentinel: “New Press Crackdown in Malaysia

“…domestic news portals that reprint them or print other news of the scandals (on Prime Minister Najib Razak) are being blocked or threatened.”


See also:
World Bulletin: “Malaysia govt slammed for blocking access to news site
Malaysiakini: “Stop censoring information
Malay Mail Online: “TMI block unjustified unless site had porn, seditious content, group says” ; “Malaysian authorities must end suppression of media to silence critical reporting — Amnesty International
Today Online: “Graphic artists in M’sia launch online poster campaign for media freedom
Free Malaysia Today: “Artists, Aliran protest blocks on media
Bangkok Post: “US slams Malaysian attacks on press freedom
The Diplomat: “Malaysia Broadens Media Crackdown As Political Scandal Worsens
Malay Mail Online. “Minister: Free speech a privilege that can be withdrawn if abused
The Star Online: “Press freedom comes with responsibility, Wisma Putra tells US State Dept


Malaysiakini: “Misuse of the Communications and Multimedia Act must end

The Malaysian Bar: “The recent and emerging pattern of MCMC’s (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission) reliance on the CMA (Communications and Multimedia Act 1998) to bar access to websites is alarming. It is seen as harassment and intimidation of the media, and targeting of contrary or dissenting voices in the public sphere.”

See also:
The Malaysian Insider: “Why is causing confusion an offence, Bar asks MCMC
Malay Mail Online: “So TMI caused ‘public confusion’? That’s not an offence, Bar tells MCMC


The Star Online: “High Court closes Pahang MB’s defamation case against Utusan Melayu

“In a landmark judgment on Tuesday (1 March 2016), the Court of Appeal ruled that public figures, who held public office, cannot sue the media for defamation.”



Frontier Myanmar: “Opening Up The Airwaves

“Myanmar journalists are pushing for changes to the country’s controversial Broadcasting Law, derisively called a Ministry of Information ‘wish list’.”



Asian Correspondent: “Singapore’s PAP continues to penalize critics – Amnesty International report

“Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP) ‘continued to penalize government critics for exercising their right to freedom of expression,’ said Amnesty International in its annual report.”



The Gulf Today: “Aquino urges quick court action on journalist killings

“A senior Malacanang Palace official on Saturday (27 February 2016) urged the judiciary to hasten resolution of cases involving the killing of journalists following increasing criticisms on the apparent failure of President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino to stop the culture of impunity against the country’s media men.”

See also:
The Standard: “Palace urges media killing probe


InterAksyon. “We asked some senatoriables: What’s your stand on an FOI act with a right-of-reply provision?

Senatorial candidates on the freedom of information bill and the right of reply



Khaosod English: “Foreign Correspondents Being Denied Media Visas

“At least 10 foreign correspondents based in Thailand have been denied media visas during the past two months, said the former president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand.”


Bangkok Post: “New report spurs call for reform of lese majeste law

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Union for Civil Liberties (UCL): “A new report shows lese majeste imprisonment is becoming a pattern, violating liberties, the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, prompting a rare call for reform to the lese majeste law.”

See also:
ABC News: “Rights Group Decries Abuse of Thai Lese Majeste Law


The Nation: “Sorrayuth guilty in bribery scandal

Media watchdogs on the guilty verdict against TV news host Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda in the Rai-Som bribery and embezzlement scandal: “(he) should not continue in his role as a news host.”

See also:
Coconuts Bangkok: “Star anchor Sorayuth jailed 13 years for defrauding channel of over THB138 million
Thai PBS: “Journalist association calls Sorayuth to revise his media role
Bangkok Post: “TV news anchor urged to quit” ; “Take a break, Sorayuth
The Nation: “Advertisers considering withdraw spending from Sorrayuth’s programme
Khaosod English: “Convicted TV Host Ends His Career Amid Pressure
The Nation: “New codes of conduct mulled to regulate media after scandals


Asian Correspondent: “Why Thailand’s print media is facing a grim future

“A newly released study by the National Statistics Office of Thailand confirms the readership decline for print media.”


Timor Leste

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Journalist faces criminal defamation threat in East Timor

On the criminal defamation complaint against freelance journalist Raimundos Oki


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

All information and materials in this roundup are for general information and use only and do not constitute any advice or recommendation.

All information and materials in this roundup are provided in good faith. Except for the information produced by SEAPA, we are not responsible for the contents or reliability of linked websites and do not necessarily endorse the views expressed within them. We have no control over availability of the linked websites.

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