Weekly Media Roundup (28 July – 3 August 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): Journalists attacked, arrested in picket line

See also: 

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Statement: Journalism is NOT a crime ; “On its 32nd anniversary: NUJP members attacked by Nutriasia guards, arrested” 

NUJP condemns AFP unit’s red-tagging of director, reporter



[Cambodia] Election sounds death knell for democracy, advocates say



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) 

CA Denies Rappler Petition to Review SEC Decision, but Orders Re-evaluation of Case” 

‘Rectify, if not delete’ article: PTFoMS accuses reporter of ‘misinformation,’ but recording says otherwise” 


[Timor-Leste] A young democracy puts premium on media training


EngageMedia: “East Asia civil society strengthens fight against Disinformation” 


IFEX. “Cheers and jeers: Tainted elections, Liu Xia’s release, and court rulings in the Asia-Pacific” 



SEAPA Program Manager, Program Assistant, and Advocacy Officer


General news 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “RSF publishes report on online harassment of journalists” 

“In a report published today, entitled ‘Online harassment of journalists: the trolls attack’, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) voices concern about the scale of a new threat to press freedom, the mass harassment of journalists online…. The perpetrators may be ordinary ‘haters’ (individuals or communities of individuals hiding behind their screens) or ‘troll armies’ of online mercenaries created by authoritarian regimes. In both cases the goal is the same, to silence journalists whose reporting annoys, often using exceptionally abusive methods.” 


Southeast Asia 

Reuters: “Southeast Asia seek cybersecurity deal with Russia after series of hacks” 

“Southeast Asian nations hope to strike a joint agreement on cybersecurity in coming days with Russia, accused by the United States of meddling in its elections, after a series of high-profile hacks in the region.” 



The Phnom Penh Post: “Information Ministry blocks Kingdom’s news sites” 

“Among 17 news websites blocked for 48 hours by the Ministry of Information after a request from the National Election Committee (NEC) to ‘maintain silence’ over the weekend of the national elections, according to a ministry official…. The 17 websites – which also included Voice of Democracy, Voice of America (VOD) and Radio Free Asia – were blocked from 12am on Saturday (28 July 2018) morning to 12am on Monday morning.” 

See also: 

Channel News Asia: “Censors and intimidation surround Cambodians as election voting opens” 

Al Jazeera: “Cambodia blocks 17 media websites before vote” 

The Atlantic: “Cambodia Eviscerates Its Free Press—And the Whole Region Suffers” 

Reuters. “Cambodia blocks some independent news media sites: rights group” 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “CPJ condemns pre-election news censorship in Cambodia” 


VICE News: “Talking about politics on Facebook can get you sent to prison in Cambodia” 

“On July 17, Choung Choungy posted a video to Facebook ahead of Cambodia’s elections this Sunday. A lawyer who has represented many of Cambodia’s opposition officials, Choungy wanted to make clear to his followers that the country’s constitution enshrines a right to free speech, and that those using social media to boycott the election were not breaking any laws…. A week later, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) filed a complaint with the National Election Commission claiming his comments constituted fake news, and requesting Choungy’s Facebook page be shut down immediately. Cambodia’s Justice Department piled on, announcing that it was pursuing legal action against Choungy. If found guilty, he could end up in jail for two years.” 



The Malaysian Insight: “Utusan’s cry for press freedom” 

“Utusan Malaysia and its owner Umno cried foul when the Education Ministry issued a directive on July 18 to its divisions, agencies, schools, universities, colleges and institutions to cease immediately subscriptions to the daily…. They even raised their concern for, lo and behold, press freedom because they insisted that the subscription cancellation was not only unfair, but also went against Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s policy of openness towards differing views and ideas.” 


Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI): “Zunar free at last as sedition charges are dropped” 

“Seven years after we first reported on his troubles, CRNI is delighted to see that the Malysian cartoonist has been fully exonerated of all criminal charges…. Latest from court: All sedition charges (9 charges) against Zunar have been dropped” 

See also: 

The Star Online: “Zunar, Surendran and Sivarasa acquitted and discharged of all sedition charges” 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Malaysia withdraws sedition charges against cartoonist Zunar” 

Amnesty International (AI). “Malaysia: Acquittal of Zunar and others must lead to repeal of draconian sedition law” 


Malaysiakini: “Gov’t to repeal laws restricting freedom of speech – Liew” 

“The government will repeal laws that restrict the people’s freedom of speech, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong…. According to him, it is in line with the commitment of the Pakatan Harapan government to give people the freedom of expression in this new Malaysia.” 



Reuters: “Reuters reporter jailed in Myanmar denies collecting secret documents” 

“Kyaw Soe Oo, one of two Reuters journalists accused of obtaining state secrets in Myanmar, told a court on Monday (30 July 2018) that the information in documents police say were found on his mobile phone was already public.” 

See also: 

The Washington Post: “Myanmar journalist testifies he didn’t know about documents” 



AlterMidya Network (People’s Alternative Media Network). “STATEMENT: Journalists hurt, arrested at NutriAsia strike dispersal” 

“Three AlterMidya correspondents Hiyasmin Saturay, Eric Tandoc, Avon Ang, and one student intern from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, Psalty Caluza, are among those arrested during the dispersal and are currently detained at the Meycauayan police station…. Rosemarie Alcaraz, a correspondent for Nueva-Ecija based Radyo Natin Guimba, who was capturing video footage, was pushed by a security guard into the ranks of workers. While trapped inside the picketline, she was hit on the head with rattan sticks by NutriAsia guards. A policeman also hit her camera, a Canon 70D, with a truncheon.” 

See also: 

KODAO Productions: “NutriAsia workers, supporters and journalists walk free” 

INQUIRER.net: “PNP to look into arrests of journalists, workers at NutriAsia picket” 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “Filipino journalists beaten, arrested while covering labor strike” 


Rappler.com: “Inquirer editor posts bail for Cebu cyber libel complaint” 

“Abelardo ‘Abel’ Ulanday, editor-in-chief of online news site Inquirer.net and publisher of the Cebu Daily News, posted bail on Monday, July 30, after a court issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with a cyber libel complaint.” 


The Philippine Star: “Blogger indicted in Sotto libel case” 

“The Pasay City prosecutor’s office has indicted blogger Edward Angelo ‘Cocoy’ Dayao for libel in the case filed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III late last year…. Dayao was charged with libel under Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 on July 13 at the Pasay City regional trial court upon the recommendation of Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Alan Mangabat, which was approved by Senior Deputy City Prosecutor Dolores Rillera.” 

See also: 

INQUIRER.net: “Blogger Cocoy Dayao indicted for libel” 

GMA News: “Sotto welcomes cyber-libel indictment against Cocoy Dayao” 

ABS-CBN News: “Blogger Cocoy Dayao indicted for libel, says Sotto” 


INQUIRER.net: “DSWD warns public of social media accounts posing as gov’t agencies” 

“The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has warned the public against the spread of fake social media accounts bearing the agency’s name that may be used to deceive Filipinos.” 



Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). “Singapore: Drop All Charges against Jolovan Wham and John Tan Liang Joo” 

“The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and its member from Singapore, Think Centre, express concern over charges ordered by Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) of Singapore against social worker and human rights activist, Jolovan Wham. FORUM-ASIA and Think Centre call on the Government to drop all charges against him and other individuals, given that they were exercising their fundamental freedoms under Article 14(1) of the Constitution of Singapore.” 


The Independent: “Reporters Without Borders brands Lee Hsien Loong a ‘Predator of Press Freedom’” 

“International press freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has branded Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as a ‘Predator of Press Freedom’ on its official website.” 



Thai PBS: “PM shuns media members” 

“Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha refused to talk to the media when he presided over the opening of Thailand Social Expo 2018 at Impact Exhibition Centre on Friday (3 August 2018) morning…. The prime minister’s aloofness with the media was reported to stem from a commentary, entitled ‘Don’t let Thai junta chief chair ASEAN next year’, in The Jakarta Post dated July 31.” 



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

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