Weekly Media Roundup (28 April – 4 May 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)



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): Radio anchor dies a day after attack

See also:

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Statement: On the killing of Edmund Sestoso


World Press Freedom Day:

[Cambodia] How to dismantle a democracy?


Prevalence of violence and threat of downsizing

Violence against women journalists

[Myanmar] Setbacks to media freedom and development


Independent journalism persists in a growing hostile environment

State of the Philippine media report

[Singapore] Media freedom: Limited by laws

[Thailand] ‘Reform’ further restricts free speech and media

[Timor-Leste] Making self-regulation work


Party politics heightens battle for information control

The crusade against double targets



Public discussion. “Online freedom of expression in the Mekong region: improving self-regulation

Burma News International (BNI): “Sixth Ethnic Media Conference kicks off in Hpa-an



IFEX. “Fake news laws, letters to Facebook, and a decline in press freedom rankings: Asia-Pacific in April


Southeast Asia

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Media in Some Asian Nations Worse Off Than a Year Ago on World Press Freedom Day” 

“Some countries in East and Southeast Asia have little to celebrate on this year’s (2018) World Press Freedom Day, with the media worse off than they were a year ago as journalists face more instances of harassment, lawsuits, and even detention.” 

See also:

Khaosod English. “Press freedom declines in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia: Panel” 

South China Morning Post: “Opinion | Islands of integrity in Asian media show why World Press Freedom Day still matters” 

Nikkei Asian Review: “Southeast Asia’s strongmen unite against political dissidents” 



Voice of America (VOA) Khmer: “As Cambodia Marks Press Freedom Day, Journalists Fear Increasing Restrictions Following Crackdown” 

“As the world celebrated Press Freedom Day on Thursday (3 May 2018), the mood among Cambodian journalists was subdued following a months-long crackdown on dissent in the media.” 

See also: 

Khmer Times: “Mixed feelings on World Press Freedom Day” 


The Phnom Penh Post. “Corruption culture and low pay hurting journalism ethics in Cambodia: report” 

“Meagre salaries amid a culture of corruption was the key factor as to why Cambodian journalists interviewed in a recent survey accepted bribes and often failed to act ethically in their jobs, according to new research…. The study, published in the Journal of Media Ethics earlier this month (April 2018), interviewed 29 journalists and 25 trainers and donors to media programs to examine journalism ethics in the Kingdom.” 



The Jakarta Post: “Journalists numbed against violence” 

“Every year on May 3, journalists celebrate World Press Freedom Day. On the same day, we were also faced with the worrying trend of violence against journalists…. The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) listed 60 incidents of violence against journalists here last year (2017).” 


Asia Pacific Report: “PMC director condemns ‘targeting’ of journalists and silence on West Papua” 

“An alarming number of ‘targeted’ journalists being killed and West Papua media for independence were just some of the topics covered in a wide-ranging seminar by the director of the Pacific Media Centre last night (3 May 2018).” 


The Jakarta Post. “Media workers in Central Java underpaid: AJI” 

“Many media workers in Semarang, Central Java, get a monthly salary well below the city’s minimum wage of Rp 2.3 million (US$165.26) per month…. Some media companies even pay their workers a basic salary of only Rp 1 million per month. The workers include journalists, photographers, layout artists, marketing personnel, office boys and security officers.” 



NPR: “Danish Man Is First Person Sentenced Under Malaysia’s Anti-Fake-News Law” 

“A Danish citizen in Malaysia has pleaded guilty to maliciously publishing fake news by posting a YouTube video critical of police, making him the first person punished under the country’s new, controversial Anti-Fake News Act…. Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46, is a citizen of Denmark. He posted on YouTube on April 21, after a Palestinian lecturer was shot and killed in Kuala Lumpur.” 

See also: 

Malaysiakini: “Danish man first in country to plead guilty to fake news charge” 

Agence France-Presse (AFP): “Malaysia jails first person under fake news law” 


TIME. “Twitter Has a Big Problem in Southeast Asia: Bots Before the Ballot in Malaysia and Beyond” 

“The Malaysian election tweets give rise to fears that thousands of bots that have appeared on social media across Asia could be weaponized. In recent weeks, users throughout the region have reported huge spikes in suspect followers. Twitter has downplayed the problem, with those familiar with the matter suggesting they are ‘organic users as the platform grows in popularity in the region,’ but few who study Twitter give credence to that explanation.” 



Reuters: “Myanmar court accepts testimony of policeman who said Reuters reporters framed” 

“A judge in Myanmar declared on Wednesday (2 May 2018) that a witness who said two Reuters reporters accused of possessing state secrets were framed by police was credible, dealing a blow to the prosecution in what has become a landmark press freedom case.” 

See also: 

The New York Times: “Myanmar Judge Refuses to Throw Out Whistleblower’s Testimony” 


Free Expression Myanmar: “Myanmar’s media freedom at risk — ခြိမ်းခြောက်ခံနေရသော မြန်မာ့မီဒီယာလွတ်လပ်ခွင့်” 

“This survey, carried out nationwide by a coalition of organisations between December 2017 and April 2018, measures journalists’ opinions on a range of issues that are critical to media freedom…. The results are discouraging…. Journalists conclude that media freedom is declining in Myanmar, and that the government, including the military, is the main cause of this.” 

See also: 

Frontier Myanmar. “Myanmar journalists believe media freedom has declined: Survey” 

Coconuts Yangon. “Government is greatest threat to press freedom in Myanmar: survey” 

Mizzima: “Report finds decline in free speech and media freedom in Myanmar” 

The Irrawaddy: “Journalists Say Press Freedom Declining in Myanmar” 

Reuters. “Myanmar journalists say government failing to protect press freedom: survey” 

PEN America: “Civil society and journalists in Myanmar find that free expression and media freedom are under significant threat” 


Al Jazeera. “Undercover for RVision: Reporting Myanmar’s Rohingya story” 

“Rohingya refugees who have escaped the violence have stories of rape, torture, and massacres at the hands of the Myanmar security forces – stories that most media outlets in Myanmar shy away from…. But one broadcaster has made it its mission to tell those stories: Rohingya Vision TV…. Rohingya Vision TV, or RVision, is run by exiled Rohingya, broadcasting from headquarters in Malaysia. The channel relies on a significant network of undercover citizen journalists in Rakhine who work at great risk to offer a rare glimpse behind the authorities’ veil of secrecy.” 


Karen News: “Ethnic media policy drafting committee founds during the sixth EMC in Hpa-an” 

“A committee for drafting the ethnic media policy has been established for the sustainability of ethnic media during the Sixth Ethnic Media Conference…. Narinjara News’s chief editor U Khaing Mrat Kyaw told Karen News that the decision was made during the Sixth Ethnic Media Conference, which was held at Zwekabin Hall in Hpa-an, Karen State on April 27-29 under the theme of ‘Promoting Media Literacy for Ethnic Media Sustainability’.” 



Rappler.com: “DepEd restricted Rappler’s access to Palarong Pambansa 2018” 

“The Department of Education (DepEd) refused to accredit Rappler to cover the Palarong Pambansa 2018, banning the news outfit from the opening and closing ceremonies, an official press conference, and the media center…. Rappler and its provincial reporters were only allowed to cover the games for all sports held between April 15 to 21 in Vigan City and nearby towns in Ilocos Sur.” 


INQUIRER.net: “PSG bars some journalists from entering Palace grounds” 

“Some Malacañang reporters were temporarily barred from entering the Palace grounds as the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tightened the security in Malacañang during the Labor Day (1 May 2018)…. The PSG, manning the Palace gates, barred even those with car pass, which is needed to enter the Malacañang premises.” 

See also: 

Rappler.com: “Malacañang reporters temporarily barred from Palace grounds” 


Journal Online: “Palace disputes claim PH dangerous place for media” 

“Malacanang rejected yesterday (2 May 2018) the claim of various media organizations that the practice of journalism in the country became a ‘more dangerous endeavor’ under the Duterte administration.” 

See also: 

Panay News: “PH safer for journos by 2020 – gov’t task force” 

Rappler.com: “Malacañang vows justice for slain priest, radio broadcaster” ; “Media groups record 85 attacks on press freedom under Duterte” 

ABS-CBN News. “85 attacks and threats vs journalists in Duterte’s time: media groups” 

INQUIRER.net: “Int’l media groups condemn killing of Dumaguete broadcaster” ; “85 cases of attacks vs media under Duterte admin – groups” 

philstar.com: “Rights, media groups denounce killing of radio broadcaster” ; “Press groups count 85 attacks vs media under Duterte” 

GMA News: “Task Group to probe killing of Dumaguete journo activated” 


ABS-CBN News. “Tourism dept ordered ‘segment buy’ on Tulfo brothers’ show: COA” 

“The Department of Tourism specifically ordered government station People’s Television Network to air tourism ads on ‘Kilos Pronto’, a blocktimer program run by DOT chief Wanda Teo’s brothers, according to a report of the Commission on Audit (COA)…. This, despite Teo’s earlier statement that it was PTV’s own decision to place the ads in her brothers’ show due to its high ratings.” 

See also:

Coconuts Manila: “Tourism secretary denies conflict of interest in PHP60 million ad deal with brothers’ TV show” 



Southeast Asia Globe: “Why Singapore is cracking down on its already restricted press freedom” 

“Singapore is tightening the reins even further on a press that critics say has never been free. So why is the city-state cracking down now? Reporters Without Borders’ Asia-Pacific director Daniel Bastard says Singapore’s ‘squeaky-clean image’ is off to a rough start in 2018” 


The New Paper: “Singaporeans sign petition to lower rating for gay romance” 

“Love, Simon, a Hollywood romantic comedy-drama about a gay 17-year-old boy, has been rated R21 here…. It opens on Thursday (3 May 2018)…. In its film classification online, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) noted that the'”central theme of the film revolves around a homosexual character coming to terms with his identity as a homosexual’.” 



Bangkok Post: “Media urge regime to scrap press curbs” 

“Marking World Press Freedom Day Thursday (3 May 2018), professional Thai media associations called on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to revoke its announcements and orders limiting press freedoms.” 

See also:  

The Nation: “Junta urged to revoke orders that curb press freedom” 


The Nation: “As prison term ends, lese majeste convict Somyot pledges to go back to fighting for democracy” 

“Discharged from prison after serving time for lese majeste, labour rights activist and former editor of a pro-red shirt magazine Somyot Prueksakasemsuk vowed to continue his struggle for democracy and to install an elected civilian government.” 

See also: 

Khaosod English: “Lese Majeste Convict Somyot Freed” 

Bangkok Post: “Lese majeste prisoner Somyot released” 

Reuters: “Thailand frees former magazine editor jailed for royal insult” 

Human Rights Watch (HRW): “Thai Magazine Editor Released After 7 Years” 



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

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