Weekly Media Roundup (27 October – 2 November 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) 

Campaign: 

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 

[General news] IFEX. “The Bees Are Coming, or: When a swarm is a good thing

[Cambodia] JOINT STATEMENT: CSOs call on authorities to step up the fight against endemic impunity in the country

 

Reports: 

[Regional] IFEX. “Asia-Pacific in October: #MeTooIndia, Mother Mushroom, the disappeared Interpol chief and more” 

 

[Myanmar] Burma News International (BNI): “BNI becomes full member of SEAPA” 

 

General news 

United Nations (UN): “Killing of journalists ‘outrageous’ and should not be ‘new normal’” 

“The Secretary-General paid tribute to the reporters in the field ‘who do their jobs every day despite intimidation and threats….’ And he called on the international community ‘to protect journalists and create the conditions they need to do their work.'” 

 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Getting Away with Murder” 

“Impunity is entrenched in 14 nations, according to CPJ’s 2018 Global Impunity Index, which ranks states with the worst records of prosecuting the killers of journalists … In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85 percent of these cases no perpetrators have been convicted. It is an emboldening message to those who seek to censor and control the media through violence. More than three quarters (82 percent) of these cases took place in the 14 countries that CPJ included on the index this year. All 14 countries have featured on the index multiple times since CPJ began to compile it in 2008, and half have appeared every year.” 

 

Freedom House. “Freedom on the Net 2018: The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism” 

“Freedom on the Net is a comprehensive study of internet freedom in 65 countries around the globe, covering 87 percent of the world’s internet users. It tracks improvements and declines in internet freedom conditions each year. The countries included in the study are selected to represent diverse geographical regions and regime types. In-depth reports on each country can be found at www.freedomonthenet.org … Of the 65 countries assessed, 26 have been on an overall decline since June 2017, compared with 19 that registered net improvements. The biggest score declines took place in Egypt and Sri Lanka, followed by Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Venezuela.” 

 

Southeast Asia 

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR): “Southeast Asian lawmakers urge regional governments to bring journalists’ killers to justice” 

“Southeast Asian governments must end a growing assault on press freedom across the region and hold to account those responsible for killing media workers, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights said today (2 November 2018) on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists…. The regional lawmakers warned that a culture of impunity for killings will only embolden more attacks on journalists, who play crucial roles in holding power to account and bringing information to the public.” 

 

Manila Bulletin: “ASEAN + 3 media leaders optimistic on war on fake news” 

“Media leaders representing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) + 3 countries on Monday (29 October 2018) expressed optimism that stronger collaboration and maintenance of high standards of objectivity will protect the high level of economic and regional cooperation of the participating nations against ‘fake news’ and other communications challenges.” 

 

The Diplomat: “ASEAN’s Digital Transformation Starts With Tomorrow’s Data Talents” 

“Data literacy, defined as the ability to see and understand data is one of the world’s fastest growing in-demand skills. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will reach more than $210 billion in 2020 as more enterprises and governments try to make sense of the data deluge, a 20,000-fold leap in data volumes between 2000 and 2020 … Demand for data skills is high but supply is crucially low in ASEAN. For instance, Malaysia and the Philippines will need 20,000 and 340,880 data scientists, respectively, from now until 2022, according to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).” 

 

Cambodia 

Khmer Times: “Fake Facebook accounts flagged by Interior Ministry” 

“In a bid to battle fake news, the Interior Ministry has identified a number of Facebook accounts impersonating government officials and institutions…. The Interior Ministry said the fake accounts impersonated RCAF army commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Vong Bunintreavuth, director-general of the general department of the National Treasury, and a Vietnamese association…. In a statement published Saturday (27 October 2018), the ministry identified the accounts and said the growth of technology has allowed the internet to be accessed by just about anyone in the country.” 

 

Indonesia 

ABC. “Lion Air crash: Indonesian media warned over ‘unethical coverage’” 

“Indonesia’s peak body for broadcasting has warned local journalists not to sensationalise the reporting of the Lion Air plane crash, in a bid to stop widespread ‘unethical media coverage’ of major disasters…. The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) made the plea a day after Flight JT610 crashed into the Java Sea with 189 people on board on Monday (29 October 2018).” 

 

Malaysia 

Malay Mail: “Call for urgent repeal of the Sedition Act — Centre for Independent Journalism” 

“The Centre for Independent Journalism is appalled that once again we have to issue a statement urging Pakatan Harapan MPs not to call for the use of the Sedition Act…. The Sedition Act is a colonial law that has no place in a democratic society and only exists to prevent freedom of speech … On 1 November 2018, YB Johari Abdul, Parti Keadilan Rakyat member for Sungai Petani, has urged the investigation of Prime Ministerial advisor A. Kadir Jasin under the Sedition Act, for remarks published on his blog (kadirjasin.blogspot.com) asking for the amount being spent on royalty to be made public.” 

 

The Edge Markets: “PDZ loses defamation case against The Edge” 

“The High Court of Kuala Lumpur yesterday (30 October 2018) ruled in favour of The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd and its two journalists in a defamation case initiated by PDZ Holdings Bhd…. PDZ Holdings had argued that it had been defamed by The Edge Communications but High Court Senior Judge Datuk Su Geok Yiam dismissed the civil lawsuit and ordered the shipping company to pay the defendants’ legal fees…. The Edge Communications publishes The Edge Malaysia and The Edge Financial Daily.” 

 

Malay Mail. “Al Jazeera reporter: Najib should have prepared better, he knew I was coming” 

“Al Jazeera reporter Mary Ann Jolley said she was surprised Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not prepare himself more for the outlet’s 101 East interview last week that he abandoned midway after losing his temper…. In an interview with radio channel LITE, Jolley said the former prime minister’s aides clearly knew she was conducting the interview and that she was the journalist the Najib administration had deported in 2015 for investigating the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.” 

 

The Drum: “Malaysia’s oldest newspaper ceases print publication to go fully digital from December” 

“The Malay Mail has announced it will cease its print newspaper in Malaysia and go fully digital from December 1…. The Mail, which began operations on December 14, 1896, is the oldest tabloid newspaper in Malaysia. Ownership of the newspaper has changed hands many times over the years and is now owned by Redberry Sdn Bhd.” 

 

Myanmar 

Free Expression Myanmar (FEM): “Myanmar internet freedom declines for 2nd year running” 

“Myanmar’s nascent internet freedom has declined in 2018 for the second year in a row under the NLD according to US-based Freedom House’s annual report launched today (1 November 2018) and researched by FEM…. Myanmar’s score deteriorated from 61 to 63 in 2017 and worsened again to 64 in 2018. Internet freedom in Myanmar is now almost as bad as under Thailand’s military government, and significantly worse than the authoritarian regime in Cambodia.” 

 

Philippines 

The Philippine Star: “Philippines ranks 5th among countries stifling the press” 

“The Philippines ranked fifth in the Global Impunity Index on oppressing the press that was topped by strife-torn Somalia, based on a report released yesterday (30 October 2018) by the New York-based press freedom watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).” 

See also: 

INQUIRER.net: “PH still ranks 5th in unsolved killing of journalists” 

Manila Bulletin: “Gov’t committed to protecting media workers — Palace” 

The Straits Times. “Philippines: Most dangerous place for journalists in Asia” 

 

GMA News: “Palace media task force working with Facebook to address online harassment of journalists” 

“The government has taken steps to address the online harassment of journalists, an official of President Rodrigo Duterte’s media security task force said Tuesday (30 October 2018)…. Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Egco said that the agency and social media giant Facebook ‘are going to actively engage with each other’ to tackle attacks against media practitioners.” 

 

GMA News: “AFP assures press freedom, protection amid martial law in Mindanao” 

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has guaranteed it will uphold press freedom amid the martial law being implemented in Mindanao, and offered assistance to media personnel covering critical areas … However, Galvez (AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr.) said there are still limitations on media coverage, especially if the information is confidential.” 

See also: 

Manila Bulletin. “AFP tells media: Be more perceptive vs. extremists’ propaganda” 

 

Singapore 

Yahoo! News: “Straits Times political editor reassigned following government officials’ discontent over coverage” 

“The political editor for The Straits Times was reassigned following unhappiness by government officials over some of its political stories, according to several sources at the national broadsheet…. Li Xueying, 39, was moved to the Enterprise desk in August this year. According to an internal e-mail to ST staff dated 20 July, her present role is to produce ‘original, unique and impactful content for Sunday Times and ST, across platforms’.” 

 

TODAY. “No access to information does not give websites licence to peddle falsehoods: Edwin Tong” 

“Responding to assertions that alternative news sites should be given similar access as mainstream media to uphold the same professional journalistic standards, Senior Minister of State for Law Edwin Tong said that for all websites, the lack of access does not give them the licence or ‘propensity to put out information that is false’…. There is a need to be clear on what a falsehood is, he said, and that having access is a ‘different question’ altogether from falsehood.” 

 

Thailand 

Bangkok Post: “Police back down on ‘Prathet Ku Mee’ threat” 

“Police have backed down on a threat to press charges against the artists behind the Rap Against Dictatorship project over the lyrics to their smash-hit song ‘Prathet Ku Mee’…. Deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said there was no evidence at this stage to charge the rappers — so listening, singing and sharing Prathet Ku Mee was ‘legal for now’.” 

 

Vietnam 

Channel News Asia: “Vietnam rolls out web monitor to control ‘false information’” 

“Vietnam said on Wednesday (Oct 31) it has set up a web monitoring unit that can scan up to 100 million news items per day for ‘false information’, in a move that tightens its grip on internet freedom…. The one-party state has rolled out a series of measures to boost its control of online communication, which critics say is aimed at punishing activists who use Facebook and YouTube as their main platforms.” 

 

NOTE 

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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