WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (3 – 9 September 2016)

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)
Ortega Murder Suspect Denied Bail
Paper ordered to pay PHP1.3M in libel suit



VICE: “Cambodian Journalists Are Dying Trying to Save the Country’s Forests

“In Cambodia and in remote forests elsewhere, a rising boom in the illegal sale of wood, land, and minerals has turned the environmental beat into a new sort of conflict journalism.”


The Phnom Penh Post. “NGOs squeezed: CCHR

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: “The factual basis of CCHR’s (Cambodian Centre for Human Right) findings corresponds to our observations.”


The Cambodia Daily: “Radio Host Sues Dissident Monk for Defamation

“Mam Sonando, a popular radio host who last year founded the Beehive Social Democratic Party, has filed a defamation lawsuit against dissident monk But Buntenh for claiming he tried to purchase positions as a lawmaker and an official with the opposition CNRP.”



International Federation of Journalists (IFJ): “Indonesian Air Force involved in alleged assault on journalists

“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI – Indonesia) in strongly condemning the alleged attack on three journalists by Indonesian Air Force personnel during the recent Sari Rejo clash in Medan, on the western island of Sumatera, Indonesia. The IFJ and AJI demand police launch a full investigation into the incident on Monday, August 15, after a residential protest over disputed land turned violent and resulted in the alleged physical assault of the media workers as well as local residents.”


The Jakarta Post: “Ignoring criticism, House to pass draconian ITE bill into law

“The House of Representatives is set to pass the revision of the controversial 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law by the end of this month despite mounting criticism from civil society groups and internet users who regard the law as too draconian.”

See also:
Poet the latest victim of notorious ITE law


The Jakarta Post: “Press Council warns against media generalization of pedophilia with homosexuality

“The Press council has warned against media reports generalizing pedophilia in direct correlation to homosexuality, due to concerns over further stigmatization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.”


The Jakarta Post. “View Point: Keep the internet free and let the best ideas win

“The best and only thing the government can do is to support rather than suppress internet freedom, making sure that the good and legitimate voices have equal access and are as prominent. There is a strong case for improving internet literacy so that everyone uses the technology for purposes that enhance their lives and prosperity.”

See also:
Jakarta Globe: “Startups Need Freedom, Support to Thrive Tech Execs Tell Govt


Tempo.co: “Indonesian Watchdogs Commemorates The Black September

“Feri Kusuma of Kontras (Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence) explained that the Black September was named based on human rights abuses that took place in the month of September, including the murder of Munir Said Thalib.”



Malaysiakini: “Penang gathering views to improve FOI laws

“Penang will be gathering views from all parties, including experts and the public, on how to improve the implementation of the state’s Freedom of Information Enactment which was enforced last year.”



The Irrawaddy: “Former Lt-Gen to Sue Local Journal for Defamation

“Khin Zaw Oo, a former Lt-Gen in the Burma Army and current member of the new government’s peace commission, said he would sue the Myanmar Herald for defamation, after publishing a story that alleged he sought political gain by taking advantage of National League for Democracy (NLD) government officials.”


Mizzima: “Lawyers stress ‘staying safe’ online

“Although just 12 percent of the population of Myanmar has access to the Internet, online speech is becoming an increasingly important theme in debates around freedom of expression.”


The Irrawaddy: “New Law Proposed to Protect Citizens Against State Surveillance

“A new bill to protect citizens’ privacy, security and freedom from state surveillance and intrusion was submitted to Parliament on Thursday (8 September 2016) by the Lower House Bill Committee.”


Myanmar Times: “SIM card registration to be enforced in 2017

“Mobile phone users will have to register their SIM cards starting next April, the government says. The Ministry of Transport and Communications announced yesterday (2 August 2016) in state-owned media that starting on March 31, 2017, all unregistered SIM cards will be blocked.”



InterAksyon.com: “Ex-Palawan governor Joel Reyes, accused in Gerry Ortega murder, denied bail

“Reports reaching Manila indicated that one of two brothers accused of masterminding the 2011 murder of Palawan broadcaster and good governance advocate Gerardo ‘Gerry’ Ortega has been denied bail Thursday (8 September 2016) by the court trying the case…. Judge Angelo Arizala of the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court Branch 52 denied bail to former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, as related to InterAksyon by Ortega’s daughter, Michaella, in a Facebook message.”


VERA Files: “VERA Files, Reporters Without Borders Germany partner to monitor media ownership in PH

“VERA Files has partnered with Reporters ohne Grenzen, German section of Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders, RSF), to embark on a three-month study of media ownership in the Philippines.”



The Independent: “LKY sent Nathan to ‘transform’ SPH in 1982

“With such executive interference of the media in Singapore, it’s no wonder that Singapore is ranked at the bottom in terms of freedom of the press.”



Bangkok Post: “Supinya walks tightrope of balancing opinion with state rules

“At the NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) meeting, Ms Supinya (Klangnarong) said she disagreed with the commissioners’ criticisms of Voice TV’s bias, which she argued does not violate article 37 of the Broadcasting and Television Business Act, and is a matter of ethics that should be self-regulated by the media.”


BBC Thai: Community Radio “Media Selatan” is back on the air

Media Selatan, a community radio from the deep south of Thailand, is allowed to broadcast again on 5 September 2016. Its programs, which air in the Melayu language, were very popular. But due to political reasons, the station had to shut down for almost two years. The radio station provides a venue to discuss critical issues within its community including the peace talks. Media Selatan broadcast through 91.50 MHz (Pattani), 96.25 MHz (Yala), www.mediaselatan.com, and https://www.facebook.com/radiomediaselatan.


Bangkok Post: “NBTC asked to ban broadcasting of suspects’ images

“The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) enforce a prohibition on TV news broadcasts showing criminal suspects because it is a violation of civil rights, said deputy permanent secretary for justice Tawatchai Thaikiew.”

See also:
Thai PBS: “Justice Ministry sets guidelines for media in reporting crimes at press conference


The Nation: “ICT Ministry considering state-owned satellite

“The Information and Communications Technology Ministry has hired Thammasat University Research and Consultancy Institute (TU-RAC) to conduct a feasibility study to develop a state-owned communications satellite…. The move is part of the government’s plan to utilise communications technology to support economic and social development and to enable people to get quick access to state information.”



VOA: “Vietnamese Official Denies Role in Facebook News Blackout

“Dan Tri, VnExpress and Zing News have not announced why they simultaneously closed their fan pages, but a fourth publication, Giao Duc Viet Nam, said Wednesday (7 September 2016) on its official website that it ‘temporarily halted the operation’ of its fan page ‘due to limited human and materials resources, which makes it impossible to control all comments on the fan page.'”




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

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