WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (4 – 10 February 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)

Alerts:

Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists)
[Indonesia] Statement on the Press Council’s efforts to collect data on and verify media organizations (in Bahasa Indonesia)

 

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
[Philippines] Statement: NUJP condemns presidential security group harassment of reporters

 

[Thailand] Political TV talk show suspended for criticizing the judiciary and military

 

Cambodia

Khmer Times: “Rainsy loses defamation appeal

“Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has lost an appeal against a conviction for defaming Prime Minister Hun Sen, who he accused of buying fake ‘Likes’ on Facebook…. The Appeal Court yesterday dismissed the CNRP president’s bid to have the Phnom Penh Municipal Court ruling set aside…. Mr. Rainsy was convicted in absentia by the municipal court in November. He was fined 10 million riel ($2,500) and ordered to pay 15 million riel ($3,750) to plaintiff Som Soeun, a high-ranking ruling party official in charge of the prime minister’s social media outreach.”

See also:
Radio Free Asia: “Facebook ‘Likes’ Conviction Upheld by Cambodian Appeals Court

 

VOA Khmer: “Youth Political Expression Hampered, Opposition Says

“The opposition has said freedom of expression among its youth wing is limited compared to more seasoned activists…. Speaking at a forum on youth participation in politics in Phnom Penh, Chum Chan Darin, an opposition representative, said young activists faced pressure and legal threats when they engaged in politics.”

 

Indonesia

The Jakarta Post: “Press Council to verify Indonesian media

“The Union of Print Media Companies (SPS) announced on Monday (6 February 2017) that it would assist the Press Council in verifying media institutions in the country in its efforts to uphold the professionalism of the Indonesian press…. The SPS said that the union, which examines the quality of print media in the country, would help the council in conducting the verification process.”

See also:
TEMPO.CO: “Press Council Verifies 74 Media

 

The Jakarta Post: “Mainstream media expected to play greater role in tackling fake news

“The spread of fake news has taken place not only in Indonesia but also other countries and is an impact of the new era of global openness that Indonesians must deal with, the President has said…. With the growing use of social media, mainstream media platforms should play more active roles in combating the influence of fake news in society by educating people with truthful news coverage, he advised.”

See also:
Jakarta Globe. “Indonesians Love to Share Fake News: Media Monitoring Agency

 

Malaysia

The Star Online: “Media watchdog chides Kit Siang over harassment of journalist

“Media watchdog Geramm (Gerakan Media Marah) urged Lim Kit Siang to respect press freedom after the DAP veteran apparently harangued a journalist during a press conference…. An altercation took place between the DAP parliamentary leader and a TV3 reporter during the press conference at the home of former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim on Tuesday, where Kit Siang was seen berating the reporter who had directed a question at him.”

See also:
Malay Mail Online: “Journalists have right to ask questions, Kit Siang told

 

Malaysiakini: “Gov’t reminded of media freedom amid National Press Day proposal

“While welcoming the government’s proposal to organise National Press Day beginning this year, the Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJ) said the government should look into fundamental issues concerning media freedom.”

See also:
Astro Awani: “Media practitioners welcome National Press Day proposal

 

Myanmar

The Washington Post: “Press freedom in Burma is under attack again — and Aung San Suu Kyi isn’t doing anything about it

“Dozens of journalists have been jailed since Aung San Suu Kyi’s government came to power. (PEN Myanmar cites at least 38 such cases.) In several cases, charges were brought after journalists directly criticized Aung San Suu Kyi or other leading members of her party. Many reporters have been charged under a junta-era law forbidding the use of telecommunications to ‘extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence or intimidate.'”

 

Philippines

philstar.com. “Duterte echoes Trump: Media is ‘dishonest’

“President Rodrigo Duterte has not gotten over the negative publicity he got during the election as he advised the public Wednesday (8 February 2017) not to believe the media, which he claimed are distorting his statements…. ‘Huwag kayo masyado yung media media maniwala diyan (Don’t believe the media that much),’ the president said during a housing summit in Quezon City.”

See also:
International Press Institute (IPI): “Journalists still under pressure in Duterte’s Philippines

 

Thailand

The Nation: “Media set to keep up its fight on regulation

“The media reform committee under the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) will not back down from its proposal for a media licensing authority, but media groups are still determined to push for changes to the bill they claim infringe on press freedom, representatives at a seminar said yesterday (4 February 2017).”

See also:
Editorial: “The fallacy of muzzling the media
Global Voices: “Thai Media Groups Say Proposed Law Could Bring Total Government Control of the Press

 

United Nations Human Rights. “Thailand: UN rights expert concerned by the continued use of lèse-majesté prosecutions

“The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today called on the Thai authorities to stop using lèse-majesté provisions as a political tool to stifle critical speech. In Thailand, defaming, insulting or threatening the royal family carries a penalty of three to fifteen years’ imprisonment.”

See also:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand. “Press Releases : Comments on News Release Issued by OHCHR on the Prosecutions Under the Lèse-majesté Law
Asian Correspondent. “Thailand: Lese majeste suspects in Laos made death threats against PM
Bangkok Post: “Government hits back at lese majeste law critics” ; Opinion: “Pai’s detention is threatening to backfire
Amnesty International. “Thailand: Civil society under attack as authorities criminalize dissent
Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “How Thailand’s junta uses lèse-majesté charges to censor information
Khaosod English: “Prosecutors to indict ‘Pao Dao Din’ over BBC Thai article

 

NOTE

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

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