Weekly Media Roundup (29 June – 5 July 2019)

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)


[Philippines] National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “Cameraman shot dead in Davao del Norte

See also:

Center for Media Freedom & Freedom (CMFR): “Former government TV cameraman gunned down

NUJP: “Bullets fired at Bombo Radyo General Santos

See also: 

Unidentified Man Fires Shots at Bombo Radyo Station

CMFR: “NUJP, Other Orgs, Local Journalist ‘Red-tagged’ Anew

CMFR: “Armed man threatens journalists in Bulacan



[Regional] IFEX. “From Hong Kong to Australia: Protesters and journalists fight back against police violence and intimidation

[Myanmar] Burma News International (BNI): “Internet cut-off affects IDPs

[Indonesia] Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists): “Journalists in Padang joins Human Rights Reporting workshop

See also:

Indonesia Development Forum (IDF) 2019 Media Briefing Workshop

AJI, Google Initiatives and Internews held Google Tools training for journalists in North Maluku


Call For Proposal

[Indonesia] Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists): “Invitation to Call For Paper in the Digital Age


General news

ABS-CBN News: “In Asia, journalists innovate, defend press freedom with smartphones

“Journalists here showcased how smartphone-driven content can transform how news is told, helping in the fight to defend press freedom in Asia…. Mobile journalism is agile, young and discreet, ‘which makes it very handy or useful in countries where press freedom is an issue,’ said Christoph Grabitz, media program director for Asia at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, which organized the conference. ‘Asia is very much advanced when it comes to digitalization. On the other hand, press freedom is a shrinking issue in Asia,’ Grabitz said. ‘We think mobile journalism can be or should be the answer….’ More than 200 journalists from 30 countries gathered in the Thai capital for the very first Mobile Journalism Conference Asia last Friday (28 June 2019). Three ABS-CBN journalists were among the participants.”


Index on Censorship: “Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship

“The Freedom of Expression Awards Fellowship exists to celebrate individuals or groups who have had a significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world. Index works with the winners to provide longer-term assistance to help fellows maximise their impact and broaden their networks.”



Khmer Times: “Calls for more action to protect children from online threats

“The Cambodia National Council for Children has appealed to all stakeholders to tackle online child sexual abuse and exploitation, noting that internet use in Cambodia is flourishing…. CNCC yesterday (2 July 2019) held a workshop with officials from relevant ministries and Unicef in Phnom Penh to formulate a strategy to tackle the issue…. Nhep Sopheap, CNCC secretary-general, said that while the use of the internet benefits a lot of people, it can negatively affect children.”



New Straits Times: “(Opinion) Asset declaration effective anti-corruption measure

“It’s good that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed a special motion warranting a mandatory declaration of assets by lawmakers from both sides of the political divide will be tabled tomorrow. It is hoped that every politician will support this motion…. Once approved, it will be compulsory for members of parliament as well as their family members to declare their income and assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). This would deter them from using their influence and abusing their positions to get financial rewards.”



Network Media Group: “Man Who Criticized MP Gets Two Years with Hard Labor

“A man who posted comments critical of Zaw Zaw Htoo, the MP for Mon State’s Paung Township, on Facebook was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor on Monday (1 July 2019) under Section 66(d) of Burma’s controversial Telecommunications Law…. Aung San Oo, a resident of Kawt Sai Ward in Mottama, was found guilty of using electronic media to defame the politician, who he called an ‘alcoholic with no standards and a true fool.’ He said he would appeal the decision.”


The Irrawaddy. “Military Using Lawsuits to Impede Freedom of Expression: Athan

“Myanmar’s military has sued nearly 80 individuals, one-third of whom were accused of causing or intending to cause members of the armed forces to mutiny, fail or disregard their duties—a crime under Article 505 (a) of the Penal Code—over a three-and-a-half-year period, according to a report released Tuesday (2 July 2019).”


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Rakhine Internet Shutdown Makes Relief Efforts More Difficult, Refugees And Aid Workers Say

“The cutoff of internet service to conflict-affected areas of western Myanmar’s war-torn Rakhine and Chin states has created a difficult situation for civilians who cannot access donors online to make aid requests, though the state government said it will step in to fill the void and help them, locals and officials said Monday (1 July 2019)…. Citing ongoing fighting between national forces and the Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar government on June 20 ordered four telecom operators to temporarily stop providing internet services to eight townships in Rakhine state and one township in neighboring Chin state where battles have taken place.”


See also:

The New York Times: “The Government Cut Their Internet. Will Abuses Now Remain Hidden?


The Irrawaddy: “Lawsuit Against Myanmar Now Editor Dropped After 2 Years

“The court in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Township made the decision to drop the lawsuit against Myanmar Now editor Ko Swe Win on Tuesday (2 July 2019). ‘The judge said the court will not wait for the plaintiff’s witnesses for the future so it dismissed the lawsuit according to the procedures of the court and the instructions of Chief Justice U Tun Tun Oo,’ lawyer Daw Ywat Nu Aung told the journalists after the court session.”


The Irrawaddy: “KNPP Slams Kayah State Govt’s Decision to Ban Ethnic Literature Event

“The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) has condemned the state government’s decision to ban an event at which various ethnic groups were due to engage in a literary exchange in the state capital, Loikaw, according to local sources…. The meeting was supposed to be held on June 29 at the office of the Department of Literature and Culture, but both the state government and the department issued statements postponing this year’s edition of the annual event.”


Mizzima: “Mizzima and VOA jointly organize Press Freedom Seminar

“Mizzima TV and Voice of America (VOA) jointly organized a seminar under the title ‘Myanmar Press Freedom and Democracy Level’ at Wyndham Hotel in Yangon on June 29 … Around 50 senior editors from media houses of the country who participated at the seminar discussed two issues – ‘How much media freedom is there in Myanmar’ and ‘Race, religion and nationalism in Media….’ Than Lwin Tun from VOA Burmese Service said, ‘The status of media freedom is declining. Even though the status of media freedom in Myanmar is said to be slightly free. We wish to see absolute freedom. So, we organized this workshop to discuss how we can change the current status to absolute freedom by inviting really seasoned journalists.’”


Mizzima: “Tracking media transition in Myanmar

“During the book launch event, Lisa Brooten and Gayathry Venkiteswaran, co-editors of a book ‘Myanmar Media in Transition: Legacies, Challenges, and Change,’ took a few moments out to speak to Mizzima about the book, journalism and free expression in Myanmar…. This book came about because the editors wanted to lay out a map for the studying of media and culture of Myanmar. Brooten, who has been writing about the Myanmar media for two decades, found that there were books to cover the current transition in Myanmar journalism, but they were not always written with a full understanding of its context.”


See also:

New book takes a look at the state of Myanmar media



Rappler.com: “Journalist sues PNP officers for kidnapping over ‘mistaken’ arrest

“Journalist Margarita Valle on Thursday, July 4, filed before the Office of the Ombudsman multiple complaints against cops of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 9 who arrested and detained her in June…. Valle filed complaints of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, torture, violation of rights of arrested persons, and gross misconduct against the CIDG team that arrested her at theLaguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental on June 9…. Valle also filed a complaint for arbitrary detention, torture, violation of rights of arrested persons and gross misconduct against top cop General Oscar Albayalde, Brigadier General Jacinto Bareng, Lieutenant Colonel Marlowe Patria, and Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Colonel Bernard Banac.”


ABS-CBN News: “14th month pay, anti-‘false content’ bills among Sotto priority bills

“Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday (1 July 2019) filed the Senate’s first 10 bills under the 18th Congress, including one seeking 14th month pay for employees in the private sector and another outlawing the peddling of ‘false content’ … Sotto’s Senate Bill No. 9 punishes the creation or publishing of ‘false’ information and allows the Department of Justice to order its takedown.”


ABS-CBN News: “Solons start filing bills on FOI, motorcycle-for-hire, protecting rights workers

“Weeks before the 18th Congress opens on July 22, 5 bills, including the ‘Freedom of Information Act,’ were filed in the House of Representatives … (Cebu City 1st District Rep. Raul) Del Mar also filed House Bill 12 or ‘Freedom of Information Act,’ which seeks to provide citizens access to official records, documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, and government research data used as basis for policy development.”


See also:

GMA News: “Divorce, FOI bills refiled at the House


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Senators push FOI, antidynasty, death penalty bills


INQUIRER.net: “Palace ‘optimistic’ 18th Congress will pass FOI bill ‘swiftly’


Manila Bulletin: “‘National Campus Press Freedom Day’ bill to be transmitted for Duterte’s signature

“The bill seeking to declare July 25 of every year as ‘National Campus Press Freedom Day’ is expected to be transmitted to Malacañang for President Duterte’s signature…. The transmittal will be made after the Senate decided to adopt House Bill 6024, which seeks to declare July 25 of every year as ‘National Campus Press Freedom Day’, as an amendment to Senate Bill 747 … Recognizing that the campus press is important in promoting and protecting the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression, the bill seeks to promote the observance of July 25 of every year as ‘National Campus Press Freedom Day.’”


Mindanao Gold Star Daily: “Pioneering Gold Star marks 30th year today

“The Mindanao Gold Star Daily celebrates its 30th anniversary today (1 July 2019) that would be capped with a gathering to pay tribute to its founder Ernesto G. Chu and those who painstakingly work to ensure the delivery of the printed news and editorials in Cagayan de Oro and elsewhere in Mindanao everyday…. The highlight of the celebration would be a fellowship of the paper’s media workers at Pearlmont Hotel tonight to reminisce the humble beginnings of the pioneering Cagayan de Oro-based daily newspaper and what it was 30 years ago.”


Rappler.com: “Record-breaking: 70,000 Filipinos join Metro Manila Pride 2019

“Anchored on the theme #ResistTogether, this year’s celebration of Pride aims to highlight the rootedness of Pride in protest, particularly the Stonewall riots of June 1969. Those riots which broke out 50 years ago were sparked by repeated police raids on the Stonewall Inn – a well-known gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village.”



Reuters: “Singapore holds gay pride rally amid calls for repeal of colonial-era law

“Thousands of people took part in Singapore’s annual gay pride rally on Saturday (29 June 2019), with many calling for a law banning gay sex to be scrapped following similar measures elsewhere in the region.”



Voice of America (VOA): “Thai journalists, activists said to face increased scrutiny

“Across Thailand’s media landscape, new cybercrime and sedition laws created by the former junta-led government have effectively stifled criticism of that period. With a new civilian government in place, but led by a former military coup leader, Prayuth Chan-ocha, questions remain as to whether an ongoing clampdown on the media will continue.”


Thai PBS World: “Fund-raising campaign to help cover Ja New’s medical bills

“As calls grow louder for the government to take action to track down the four assailants who seriously injured democracy activist Sirawith Seritiwat, alias Ja New, a campaign has been launched for public donations to fund his medical expenses. He also said he agreed with the requested individual donation amount of 247.50 baht, which symbolizes the year B.E. 2475 (1932), when Thailand was transformed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy in a bloodless coup. Former Bangkok senator and a human rights advocate Jon Ungphakorn said today (29 June 2019) he supported the fund-raising campaign because he thought Ja New’s campaign might have financial problems and could not afford to meet the medical treatment and rehabilitation bills for the victim.”


See also:

The Nation: “Concert held to support Ja New after anti-junta activist assaulted again


Thai Lawyers for Human Rights: The rise of systematic violence: observations on the attacks against political activists

“The attacks also intend to send a signal and create a chilling effect among people who want to join the anti-junta campaigns and the campaigns to demand justice and democracy. By reminding people of the price they have to pay, they attempt to deter people who are informed of the incidents. These attacks have become collateral damage the activists have to consider before launching any political activity. Leaving aside the infringement on the safety of the victims’, the string of attacks against activists have impacted the public’s right to freedom of expression.”


See also:

Bangkok Post: “Hate speech, fake news ‘on the rise’


Reuters: “From shrimp to fake eyelashes, social media sales soar in Facebook-friendly Thailand

“His (Anurak Saruethai) success is emblematic of booming social media commerce in Thailand where entrepreneurs sell products directly to customers via Facebook, Instagram and messaging apps like Japan’s Line Corp (3938.T)…. Propelled by upgrades to mobile banking apps, sales via social media in Thailand more than doubled to 334.2 billion baht ($10.9 billion) in 2017, according to the latest report from the country’s Electronic Transaction Development Agency.”



Tempo Timor. “Timor-Leste’s free speech debate: Does criminal defamation law protect Maun Bo’ot ‘Big Brother’?

“Proposals to make defamation a criminal offense in Timor-Leste have sparked public debate on the pros and cons of a law that could see people jailed for their opinions on popular platforms like Facebook…. The supporters of criminalizing defamation argue the growing instances of leaders being cursed and abused on Facebook, with more than 400,000 users in a population of 1.3 million, is not ‘public debate.’”



Global Voices: “New documentary series highlights the struggles of women activists in Vietnam

“A new series of video interviews highlights the perspectives and struggles of women involved in human rights activism in Vietnam…. The 88 Project, an organisation supporting freedom of expression in Vietnam, released the first video of an ongoing interview series with female activists in Vietnam.”


Vietnam News: “Citizen journalism helps tackle environmental issues

“The fundamental role of citizen journalism (CJ) in building climate resilience in the wetlands of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Việt Nam was highlighted at a workshop held recently in Thailand’s Chachoengsao Province…. Professional journalists from media and news agencies from Mekong countries including the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Laos Star TV, Cambodia’s Hang Meas TV, Vietnam Television and the Việt Nam News shared experiences in developing the CJ network in their own countries.”


VNExpress International. “Vietnamese spend a quarter of time on mobile phones playing games: report

“A Vietnamese user spends an average 3 hours and 42 minutes on their mobile phones a day, of which 23 percent of time is spent playing games…. The 23 percent of time spent playing games is the highest proportion, while more than 18 percent is spent on social media, according to a report by Appota, a developer and provider of Vietnamese digital entertainment platforms.”



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.

Hazwany Jamaluddin

Program Assistant at Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

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