WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (28 January – 3 February 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)

[Thailand] A potential death blow to media freedom
Background and summary of the media ‘protection’ bill

 

Media Law (Thai) Media Law

 

 

 

 

 

Cambodia

VOA News. “Study: Cambodian Media Ownership Concentrated Among Elite

“Cambodia’s wealthy elite is increasingly buying media outlets, according to a joint Media Ownership Monitor (MOM) project by Reporters without Borders and the Cambodian Center for Independent Media. Among 27 owners surveyed in the project, nine are business and political tycoons and 10 are politically affiliated…. Experts say these media owners are keen to protect their interests and the interests of the government which protects them — at the expense of providing news to citizens.”

 

Indonesia

news.com.au: “Indonesian defamation laws ‘madness’

“An Indonesian university lecturer accused of committing blasphemy on Twitter has criticised the ‘madness’ gripping the country, saying vague laws are paving the way for political retribution through the courts.”

 

The Jakarta Post: “Freedom of speech in cyberspace

“One of the most recent laws is the 2008 Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law, which was amended last year. The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is conducting research and its early findings show that the law has ‘become a favorite tool’ of political and economic interests to attack their opponents. It did not regulate the ‘internet’ or more precisely Indonesian cyberspace coherently at all.”

 

Myanmar

The Irrawaddy: “Journalists Weigh in on Front Page Omission of U Ko Ni’s Death in State Media

“As editors of Burma’s private daily news outlets decided to run the killing of the ruling party’s legal advisor on their front pages, their counterparts from the state-run English paper removed the news from page one at the last minute, with its editor stating that they ‘can’t make decisions the way that private dailies do.'”

 

Global Voices: “Myanmar Activists Say Junta-Era Defamation Law Must Go

“Myanmar’s military-backed government lost the 2015 elections, but the measures it implemented to silence dissent are still the law of the land…. This includes the ‘Telecommunications Law,’ which was passed in 2013 to promote foreign investments in the Information Technology sector and protect technology providers and users. But despite this clear objective of the law, many officials interpreted section 66(d) as a useful legal basis to file defamation charges against their critics.”

 

Thailand

Bangkok Post: “NRSA whips put the brakes on media bill

“The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) whips have put the brakes on the controversial bill to regulate the media following fierce opposition from media organisations.”

See also:
Media control bill suspended” ; “Media outcry mounts as bill goes forward” ; “Charter writers oppose press ‘reform’ attempt” ; “NRSA refuses to back down on media bill” ; “Media lashes out at ‘control’ moves” ; “NRSA panel unfazed by media protest” ; Editorial: “Media must be free
The Nation: “NRSA calls for review of media regulatory bill following strong opposition from journalists” ; “Journalists urge coordinated social media protest” ; “Media to crank up opposition against controversial oversight by govt panel” ; “Media outlets oppose new law” ; “A free media, or a govt information service?
VOA News: “Thai Media Legislation Triggers Protests
Khaosod English: “Genteel protest to media censorship swatted aside” ; Opinion: “Junta thanks compliant Thai media with gift – A muzzle
Thai PBS: “Media organizations up in arms against media restriction bill
Asian Correspondent. “Thailand: Latest media bill labelled ‘death blow’ to media freedom

 

Bangkok Post: “Scholars, students demand bail for Pai

“About 360 university scholars and students have signed a petition asking the Supreme Court president to temporarily release lese majeste suspect Jatupat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa.”

See also:
Court again denies Jatupat bail request
Radio Australia: “Thai student who posted King’s profile denied bail for sixth time, amid dramatic protest

 

ARTICLE 19. “Thailand: Computer Crime Act

“In January 2017, ARTICLE 19 analysed the December 2016 amendment to Thailand’s Computer Crime Act of 2007 (the Amended Act) for its compliance with international freedom of expression standards. The Amended Act is currently awaiting the endorsement of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. ARTICLE 19 has previously reviewed the 2007 Act and called on the Thai Government to amend it.”

 

NOTE

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

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