WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (30 September – 6 October 2017)

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)
Vice Mayor of Surigao del Norte Town Assaults Newspaper Editor




National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
NUJP’S reply to RJ Nieto’s attack vs Jes Aznar



IFEX. “September round-up: media murders, illegal anonymity and toxic politics


Southeast Asia

Khaosod English. “Facebook must act on anti-Rohingya hate speech: UN free speech chief

“‘Freedom of expression is under threat everywhere,’ said (UN’s special rapporteur on free expression David) Kaye, citing online harassment, hate speech and incitement to discriminate as examples across the region…. Asked to be more specific, he said free expression is ‘pretty much under threat in every country’ in Southeast Asia.”


The Splice Newsroom: “New Naratif tests Southeast Asia’s appetite for a member-funded journalism service.

“Most of Southeast Asia’s legacy media are for-profit entities controlled by conglomerates or are family businesses. But New Naratif, a new regional startup, is now crowdfunding to test the market for a paid membership approach to journalism. Borrowing heavily from the ethos of De Correspondent, the Dutch news site that raised US$1.7 million from 20,000 subscribers in 2013, New Naratif aims to build a community of readers across the region. Members can access the site’s Southeast Asia-focused longform journalism, news and comic art and offer feedback on the editorial process.”


Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA): “Regional Consultation – State of the Internet in Asia”
Day 1 and Day 2

“…a regional consultation in Bangkok on the State of Freedoms of Assembly, Association, Expression and Religion on the Internet in Asia.”


Association for Progressive Communications (APC): “‘Let the mob do the job’: How proponents of hatred are threatening freedom of expression and religion online in Asia

“Religion and expression are at the heart of much of these developments, as rights to be protected and as tools for discrimination and suppression, as well as their politicisation in public affairs. international human rights standards provide the overarching framework for the subject, against which national legislations are discussed.”



The Phnom Penh Post: “Former Cambodia Daily reporters charged with ‘incitement’

“Two former Cambodia Daily journalists have been charged with ‘incitement to commit a felony’ over seemingly routine commune election coverage in Ratanakkiri.”


The Phnom Penh Post: “Report shows pressure on news to favour government

“A new report on the challenges faced by independent media in Cambodia in 2016 highlights a pervasive atmosphere of pressure on journalists to give favourable coverage to the government and ruling party allies, and concerns among the media – ultimately vindicated – about a possible pre-election crackdown.”

See also:

Ministry warns journalists on party law


The Phnom Penh Post: “Hun Manith, officials and pro-government journalists promoted

“Huy Vannak, an undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Interior and media adviser for the Cambodian Broadcasting Service – which includes the television stations CTN, CNC and MyTV, among others – said he was not surprised by the appointment of journalists, which include employees of government broadcaster TVK, the ruling party’s channel Apsara TV and similarly pro-government outlets.”



Malaysiakini: “Stop penalising freedom of expression, Amnesty urges gov’t

“Human rights group Amnesty International Malaysia has urged the authorities to stop prosecuting individuals for exercising freedom of expression.”


Malaysiakini: “Zunar to file legal challenge after latest book ban

“Political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, will be filing a legal challenge soon against the government…. This comes after it was announced yesterday (3 October 2017) that his 2015 cartoon book ‘Sapuman – Man of Steal’ had been banned under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.”

See also:

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF): “Malaysia Bans Another Zunar Book, Ignoring UN Reprimand


malaysiandigest.com: “Media Declining Numbers Reveal Brooding Reality

“According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Malaysia, all mainstream newspapers suffered nosediving circulation numbers in 2016 when compared with 2012 figures.”



Internews: “Media and Information in the Rohingya Crisis

“Lack of information, misinformation, and outright propaganda have driven the conflict, raising tensions on all sides, stoking rumors, emboldening extremist elements, and masking atrocities…. A recent Internews assessment examines the information dimensions of the ethnic and religious persecution and violence in Mynamar’s Rahkine state.”



philstar.com: “Blogger slammed for false claims vs photojournalist

“A blogger who falsely accused a celebrated photojournalist of compromising the safety of troops in Marawi was criticized for his statements at a Senate hearing on Wednesday (4 October 2017)…. Rey Joseph Nieto, behind the blog Thinking Pinoy, defended his claims against lensman Jes Aznar, dismissing them as a mere reminder to the journalist. Thinking Pinoy is a relatively popular Facebook page where Nieto regularly lashes out at critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.”


SunStar Bacolod: “Radio anchorman under hospital arrest for libel

“Radio commentator Donard Nojas is still confined at a hospital in Bacolod City after he was arrested for libel at his house in Alijis Village Saturday night, September 30. … The libel case stemmed from a complaint filed by a village chief in Himamaylan City.”


Rappler.com: “Dela Rosa accuses media of painting PNP as drug war ‘villain’

“Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa again criticized the media for supposed biased reporting about the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.”


Manila Bulletin: “Malacañang censors Duterte’s swear words in speech video

“When the President blew his top over allegations of hidden wealth, Malacañang had to censor Duterte’s swear words 41 times in the video of the speech released to the public…. Radio-Television Malacañang (RTVM) made public a sanitized version of the President’s speech during a closed-door gathering of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Davao City last Saturday (30 September 2017).”


CNN Philippines: “Senate tackles spread of ‘fake news’

“After a heated debate at the session hall over a blog, senators put the spotlight on fake news…. The Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, probed on Wednesday (4 October 2017) the spread of misinformation — especially on social media — and how to stop it.”

See also:

Duterte: Law against fake news won’t be passed
Rappler.com. “Mocha Uson: ‘Ako po ay biktima ng (I am a victim of) fake news’
INQUIRER.NET: “A List of Mocha Uson’s Fake News Posts” ; “Poe assures anti-fake news law will not curtail freedom of speech” ; “Duterte, Senate not keen on fake news law
philstar.com: “No gov’t agency monitoring fake news on social media, NBI exec says” ; “Senators berate Mocha, other pro-Duterte bloggers
InterAksyon: “‘Information literacy’ best way to combat ‘fake news’
ABS-CBN News: “Passing a law vs fake news ‘dangerous,’ UP prof says” ; “Libel, fraud laws also cover bloggers, CMFR chair says
BusinessMirror: “Poe eyes ‘tougher’ sanctions for cyber libel and fake news



The Online Citizen: “SDP Chair Paul Tambyah condemns recent government crackdowns

“Newly Elected Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chairperson, Paul Tambyah, issues an official statement on behalf of the party condemning the recent crackdowns on civil society activists, such as the arrest of Seelan Palay for his art piece outside of Parliament, and the intimidation of activists and friends for participating in a candlelight vigil for death row inmate Prabagaran Srivijayan…. Noting that these are ‘regressive steps’, Tambyah also points out that the constitution allows for freedom of speech and assembly.”



Khaosod English: “112 case moves forward against historian for doubting 16th century ‘elephant duel’

“Puangtip Boonsanong, Sulak’s lawyer, said Friday (6 October 2017) he didn’t understand how comments about a king who lived four centuries ago could ever be construed as violating the lese majeste law, which explicitly is written to cover only the reigning monarch, queen, heir apparent and regent…The lawyer added however that there are people who construe any criticism of past kings, no matter how remote, as criticism of the reigning monarch.”


The Nation: “Thaksin to be charged with lese majeste

“The Attorney General Office has agreed to a police request to formally charge fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for lese majeste and violation of the Computer Act, Attorney General Khemchai Chutiwong said Friday (6 October 2017).”

See also:

Reuters. “Former Thai PM Thaksin to be charged with royal insult: attorney general



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

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