WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (30 April – 6 May 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)

[Indonesia] SEAPA condemns Yogyakarta Police shutdown of World Press Freedom Day Activity

See also:
The Jakarta Post: “Police disperse World Press Day event in Yogyakarta” ; “Komnas HAM to investigate shutdown of World Press Day event in Yogyakarta


Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)

Journalists Face Libel Raps
Blocktimer Car Riddled with Bullets in Zamboanga del Norte


The Phnom Penh Post: “Gov’t touts free press record

“… the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) launched a social media campaign in support of World Press Freedom Day, highlighting nine cases of harassment of journalists in the last 12 months, including two assaults and a murder.”


The Jakarta Post: “Ideal wage for Jakarta journalists $572, says association

“The Alliance of Independent Journalists ( AJI ) calculated the budget for goods and services related to the needs of a journalist in Jakarta, including subscriptions to newspapers or the purchase of a laptop and an internet modem, to come up with the ideal wage.”


Malay Mail Online: “Suing lying politicians doesn’t protect journalists, media group tells AG

“The Attorney-General’s suggestion that journalists sue politicians who lie about being misquoted does not protect the media from police investigations when they are instead accused of inaccuracy.”


Deutsche Welle. “Myanmar: Everything will change

U Myint Kyaw, Secretary General, Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN): “…now is the time to create strong institutions and solid legal frameworks to protect our media freedom…”


BenarNews: “On Press Freedom Day, Thai Journalists Ask Prayuth to Lift Controls

“The statement requested that orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) be revoked and that the government-sponsored National Reform Council support efforts for reporters to cross check among themselves. It also urged the media to report objectively and without bias, while maintaining respect for human rights.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “Media urges PM to scrap muzzling laws
The Nation: “Media workers lament decline in freedom of expression in Thailand



VOA: “On World Press Freedom Day, New Information Law Touted

“A new access to information bill was discussed in Phnom Penh on Tuesday (3 May 2016), World Press Freedom Day, with some raising hopes that it could be a positive step by the government towards redressing the balance of power when it comes to the media.”



Tempo.Co: “ASEAN Literary Festival Director Responds to Protests

Director of ASEAN Literary Festival (ALF) Okky Madasari: “One of the most prominent issues today is freedom of expression. In Indonesia, we have 1965 issue, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender [LGBT] issue and other issues that are not allowed to be discussed.”



The Sun Daily: “Local media groups renew call on freedom of information and expression

“On World Press Freedom Day today (3 May 2016), media groups in Malaysia renewed their call for freedom of information and expression.”


The Star Online: “WSJ and Sarawak Report slammed for ‘fantasy journalism’

“It is time to call out the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Sarawak Report (SR) for their vindictive campaign against Malaysia, says the press secretary to the Prime Minister…. Datuk Seri Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, in a statement, said Malaysians should be made aware that the reports carried by the publications in their attacks on Malaysia had been proven wrong.”



The Irrawaddy. “Editorial: A Note From the Newsroom on World Press Freedom Day

“This condition—prisons without journalists—is a low but important bar for any country assessing its press freedom. Subjected to decades of censorship and persecution, a new era has dawned for Burmese journalists, but work toward consolidating a truly free and independent press remains.”

See also:
Burma’s Media Landscape Through the Years
Mizzima: “Myanmar and World Press Freedom Day
Myanmar Times: “Media expresses frustrations with NLD restrictions on World Press Freedom Day
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: “New government reiterates its commitment to pursue greater press freedom in Myanmar


Frontier Myanmar. “Pe Myint: ‘A government needs to inform the people’

“Frontier spoke to (Information Minister U) Pe Myint in an interview that touched on his plans for reforming the media, the competitive advantage of state-run publications over their private sector counterparts and his top priority as minister.”


The Irrawaddy: “Facebook Firebrand Arrested Over alleged Defamation of Burma’s leaders

“Nay Myo Wai, ultra-nationalist provocateur and leader of a fringe political party, was arrested on Wednesday (4 May 2016) night outside Burma’s commercial capital Rangoon, after being sued for allegedly defaming the president, army chief and state counselor on social media.”

See also:
Asian Correspondent. “Burma: Anti-Muslim activist arrested over remarks against Suu Kyi on Facebook


Frontier Myanmar: “Thangyat Reloaded

“‘Thangyat is freedom of expression,’ Aung Soe Min said. This year, for the first time, the singers did not need permission from a censorship board and were allowed to perform in front of City Hall.”



davaotoday.com. “World Press Freedom Day: No conviction for Ampatuan massacre perpetrators

“During the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day, May 3, families of the victims of Ampatuan massacre slammed Pres. Benigno Aquino III for failing to convict the perpetrators of the crime before his term ends.”

See also:
The Philippine Star. “Editorial: A fundamental right


National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. “Statement: ‘Spare journalists from being targets in the May 9 political battle’

“We express concern over the safety and security of our colleagues in the provinces, especially those in areas dubbed as election hotspots, who will be covering the poll conduct.”


philstar.com: “Environmentalist files raps vs Duterte supporters for cyberbullying

Human rights defender and climate advocate Renee Juliene Karunungan: “My rights offline are the same as my rights online. There is a difference between freedom of speech and speech that incites violence. It is time that people know the difference. We should not condone violence especially on the basis of political views. This kind of behavior is unacceptable and is a threat to our democracy and violates our basic rights.”



Khaosod English: “Press Freedom Isn’t Free

“Press freedom isn’t free, and the price is especially high under a dictatorship. People must fight to maintain it, as they must freedom in general. We cannot maintain freedoms of press and expression if we are not willing to pay the price in the face of threats and tyrannies.”

See also:
‘Watch Yourself,’ Prayuth Tells Reporter on World Press Freedom Day
Voice of America: “No Celebration in Thailand for World Press Freedom Day
Bangkok Post: “‘Streisand effect’ reaches out for NCPO chief
Reporters Without Borders: “RSF condemns junta’s censorship of critics


Business Standard: “Call renewed to free jailed Thai editor

“A group of 16 nonprofits, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, on Friday (29 April 2016) called for the immediate release of a Thai editor who is serving a 10-year prison sentence on charges of lese-majeste.”


The Nation. “Special Report: Facebook Live poses new challenges for reporters

“In light of the changing behaviour of news consumers, broadcasters have to consider the attractiveness, rapidity, accuracy, and legitimacy of content, said Mana (Treelayapewat, dean of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s Faculty of Mass Communications).”


Bangkok Post: “Referendum rules spark huge outcry

“HRLA (Human Rights Lawyers Association) president Pairote Polpetch told the Bangkok Post Sunday (1 May 2016) that the referendum rules restrict access to information and contradict international principles which allow voters free access to information and to discuss and debate without fear of intimidation.”

See also:
Thai PBS: “TU student union demands free expression for the sake of true democracy
Coconuts Bangkok: “Thailand bans ‘rude’ opinions ahead of crucial referendum


Bangkok Post: “Arrests reveal compromise in online privacy

“Details of lese majeste charges last week against two of the eight administrators who ran a Facebook page making fun of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has raised concern among netizens over the state of online privacy in Thailand.”

See also:
The Nation. “Police using secret methods: netizens


Khaosod English: “Anti-Junta Activist’s Mother Charged With Royal Defamation

“The mother of a prominent activist leader has been charged with insulting the monarchy, an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “Ja New’s mother faces lese majeste charge


Asian Correspondent: “Facebook blocks page that mocks Thai monarchy

“For the first time in over a year, Facebook has censored content at the request of authorities in Thailand, blocking users in the country from viewing a page which purportedly insulted its monarchy.”



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

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