WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (30 July – 5 August 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)

[Thailand] Speech restrictions cloud constitutional referendum

[Thailand] Risks in reporting the referendum

[Thailand] Infographic: Expression and media setback in the 2016 draft charter



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
[Philippines] TV reporter harassed by anti-drug unit agents
Journalist says he was threatened by regional info agency director


Southeast Asia

Forbes: “How To Avoid Internet Censors In Southeast Asia (And Elsewhere)

“…a quick guide for how to browse the internet safely with the help of some internet experts.”



The Jakarta Post: “Online defamation could result in prison sentence

“Netizens or social media enthusiasts need to be careful with their posts, or otherwise they could be charged with defamation as the government and the House of Representatives have agreed to retain a draconian article in the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law criminalizing opinions deemed to constitute defamation.”


Asian Correspondent: “Authorities claim religious riots in Indonesia triggered by social media

“According to General Tito Karnavian, people used social media to spread rumors, which angered some members of the public in Tanjung Balai and led to mobs attacking two monasteries and five temples.”



Asian Correspondent: “New Malaysian security law gives PM sweeping powers, threatens human rights – Amnesty

Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia and the Pacific deputy director Josef Benedict: “The National Security Act 2016 is merely the latest in a series of laws that pay no heed to the human rights to a fair trial, freedom of movement, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Malaysia.”



Myanmar Times: “A responsible press can help empower Myanmar’s young, growing democracy

“In many cases, media reporting has ensured government policy has been held to account and the interests of ordinary people (such as workers, land holders and victims of discrimination) have been better protected…. In many cases, of course, such media coverage has meant criticism of government policies or practices that may have caused discomfort and perhaps even anger on the part of the authorities. Much of the government sensitivity was exaggerated and may have been unnecessary or avoidable.”


Myanmar Times: “How social media became Myanmar’s hate speech megaphone

“Behind the selfies and the stickers, social media platforms like Facebook have become fertile new ground for hate speech – with an audience growing by the day.”



INQUIRER.net. “Group backs controversial Inquirer front page: No reason to doubt integrity of news pictures—photojournalists

“The Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines, whose members include some of the most prominent and influential practitioners in the country, said it was ‘compelled’ to issue a statement after individuals, ‘mostly in anonymous social media posts … put doubt on the integrity of news photos of victims of summary executions that appeared in newspapers and news sites in recent days.'”

See also:
Agence France-Presse: “Dead bodies and hellish prisons on the Philippines police graveyard shift


GMA News Online: “Media boycott over? Duterte holds first press briefing in Malacañang

“President Rodrigo Duterte’s boycott on the media is apparently over, as he held his first press briefing with members of the press corps in Malacañang on Monday (1 August 2016).”

See also:
Rappler.com: “Duterte ends media boycott, holds press conference
The Philippine Star. “Rody to media: Go ahead, criticize me
Committee to Protect Journalists: “Philippine leader blows hot and cold on press freedom


Rappler.com. “Freedom of Information law: will it pass under Duterte?

“It has been a politician’s promise time and again. But like most campaign promises, the Freedom of Information (FOI) law remains a draft on paper.”



Bangkok Post: “Mother of ‘Ja New’ indicted for royal insults

“The mother of prominent student activist Sirawith ‘Ja New’ Seritiwat was indicted Monday (1 August 2016) by the military court for violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which covers royal defamation including lese majeste.”

See also:
BBC. “Thailand lese majeste: Woman charged over single word used on Facebook


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA). “Thailand: Restrictions on Freedom of Expression Question the Legitimacy of Referendum

“‘A referendum without freedom of expression cannot be considered free and fair, as it inhibits people’s participation, which is essential for a referendum to be democratic,’ says Evelyn Balais-Serrano, the Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.”


Bangkok Post: “What’s legal and what’s not,according to the EC

“Since the Referendum Act was passed by the National Legislative Assembly in April, the Election Commission and various government members have expressed their opinions on the legality of certain actions relating to the referendum vote.”



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

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.

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