Weekly Media Roundup (5 – 11 May 2018)

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)


[Cambodia] Editor fired, staff resign as new owner takes over newspaper Phnom Penh Post

See also:

Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR). Joint statement: Civil society groups condemn ongoing attacks on freedom of the media



Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): Pattern of restrictions signals crackdown on press



World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2018

See also:

[Regional] Patterns of Press Freedom Violations in Southeast Asia


Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality

FOJO: Media Institute. “Proactivity and collaboration to prevent hate and threats” 


EngageMedia. “COCONET: Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp 2017” 


[Thailand] สื่อ-นักวิชาการแนะคสช.ยกเลิกคำสั่งคสช. เตรียมคืนเสรีภาพสู่ประชาชน


Southeast Asia

Rappler.com. “Media Freedom: Much more than just the media’s problem” 

“From Cambodia and Myanmar to the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, countries are facing challenges that are a mix of the usual ones such as hostile action from governments and the use of laws and the courts to limit space for media, as well as newer forms that digital spaces have brought with them. These include fake news, disinformation, and online harassment.” 

See also:

New Naratif. “Red Lines and (Self-)Censorship: Journalism in Southeast Asia” 

NPR: “Press Freedom Is Under Fire In Southeast Asia” 


GMA News: “ASEAN MEET IN SINGAPORE | Strategies to fight fake news proposed; PHL’s 2016 AMRI campaign lauded” 

“Singapore’s Finance minister on Thursday (10 May 2018) proposed four broad strategies that Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states can use to combat the growing digital problem that is fake news.” 

See also: 

Myanmar Times: “Singapore seeks ASEAN digital growth, ways to fight fake news” 



The Phnom Penh Post: “Phnom Penh Post sold to Malaysian investor” 

“The Phnom Penh Post has been sold to Sivakumar Ganapathy, a Malaysian investor and executive at a public relations firm that has previously done work for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government…. Sivakumar, who is the executive director of Malaysia-based Asia PR, said in a press release distributed to staff on Saturday (5 May 2018) that he intends to maintain the newspaper’s editorial independence.” 

See also:

Voice of America (VOA): “At Cambodia’s Last Independent Newspaper, Top Editor Fired, Foreign Journalists Quit” 

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “NGOs, Rights Groups Slam Takeover of Cambodia’s ‘Last Independent Paper’” 

Asian Correspondent: “Cambodian newspaper sold to PR firm linked to Hun Sen” 

Asia Pacific Report: “Mass staff walkout at Phnom Penh Post owner’s self-censorship order” 

Reuters: “Sale of newspaper in Cambodia ‘disaster’ for media freedom: rights group” 

The Guardian: “Newspaper takeover is ‘staggering blow’ to Cambodia’s free press” 

The Interpreter: “Mourning Cambodia’s press freedom” 

Nikkei Asian Review: “Phnom Penh Post sale another nail in coffin for press freedom” 

TIME: “The Sale of Cambodia’s Last Independent Newspaper Pushes Press Freedom Into Peril” 

Los Angeles Times: “Cambodia’s ‘last bastion of independent media’ is thrown into turmoil” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Hun Sen-linked PR firm buys Cambodia’s last independent newspaper” 


The Phnom Penh Post: “Lack of female journalists in Kingdom has far-reaching effects, report says” 

“Women journalists in Cambodia are underrepresented in their profession, face pressures from family to stay out of the industry and are at risk of sexual harassment in the workplace, according to a new study released on Thursday (3 May 2018), coinciding with World Press Freedom Day.” 



The Jakarta Post: “Press, societies launch antihoax website” 

“In an unprecedented move, 22 national and regional news media organizations and a number of associations have launched a website to debunk false news and hoaxes ahead of the 2019 elections…. The name of the website, cekfakta.com, translates to ‘fact check’ in English…. The joint project was initiated by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI), the Indonesian Anti-Slander Society (Mafindo), Internews and Google News Initiative.” 

See also:

TEMPO.CO: “Online Media Collaboration Launches Cekfakta.com to Fight Hoax” 



Malaysiakini: “Harapan promises press freedom, but MP wants TV3 shut down” 

“Pakatan Harapan has repeatedly stressed that it is committed to ensuring media freedom unlike its predecessor, but one of its lawmakers appears not to have received the memo…. Taking to Facebook, newly-elected Jelutong MP RSN Rayer wanted TV3’s broadcast license to be revoked.” 

See also:

The Star Online: “Jelutong MP slammed after calling for revocation of TV3’s licence” 


Malaysiakini: “Nurul Izzah reaffirms commitment to press freedom” 

“Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has reaffirmed her commitment to press freedom in the country…. She said she will institute a media council and work on abolishing the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA).” 


The Nib: “Malaysia’s Fight Against Fake News Might Just Kill Free Speech” 

“Regardless of which party wins the majority out of the 222 Parliamentary seats, the future of free speech in Malaysia isn’t looking good.” 

See also:

Malay Mail. “Dr M: Anti-fake news law will be reviewed” 



Reuters: “Myanmar policeman who said Reuters reporters were framed details sting operation” 

“A Myanmar policeman now serving a prison sentence gave more details to a court on Wednesday (9 May 2018) about how he says two Reuters reporters were framed by police, in what has become a landmark press freedom case for the Southeast Asian nation…. Police captain Moe Yan Naing, 47, who since his original testimony on April 20 has been sentenced to a year in jail for violating police discipline, gave a blow-by-blow account of how he says a police chief ordered subordinates to give ‘secret’ documents to Reuters reporter Wa Lone in a sting operation.” 

See also: 

NewsClick: “Press Freedom in Myanmar is in Danger” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “Myanmar: ‘Time to end a judicial farce’” 



Rappler.com: “Rappler hits BIR for ‘selective justice’ in tax evasion case” 

“Rappler Holdings Corporation (RHC) and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa accused the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) of ‘selective justice’ in the P133-million ($2.57-million) tax evasion complaint it filed against the social news network…. Rappler Holdings and Ressa made this argument in a joint counter-affidavit filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, May 7. Ressa appeared at the DOJ before noon Monday.” 

See also:

Asia Sentinel: “Duterte Takes on the Filipino Press” 


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “AFP bans media coverage of Balikatan exercises” 

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines has banned media coverage of joint military field exercises with its American counterpart…. Citing no particular reason for declaring this year’s 34th Balikatan exercises off-limits to the media, the AFP said it would no longer allow coverage of activities in Zambales and Tarlac.” 


ABS-CBN News: “Tulfos to return P60-M ad money; tourism chief’s husband to quit TIEZA” 

“After a ‘family council,’ the Tulfos have agreed to return the P60 million they had received from the Department of Tourism for ad placements, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, said Monday (7 May 2018).”  

See also:

INQUIRER.net: “Bitag Media to return P60M pay for DOT ad placements – lawyer” 

CNN Philippines: “Tulfos to return P60M from DOT ad deal to end controversy – Teo’s lawyer” 



Bangkok Post: “Peace TV to be unplugged for one month” 

“Peace TV is to be kicked off the air for one month in a decision by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) that enraged its popular lead anchor…. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith announced the decision to temporarily suspend the licence of the broadcaster on Wednesday (9 May 2018). The suspension will take effect after the satellite-based station is notified by a letter from the telecom regulator, he added.” 

See also:

Peace TV cops new freeze order” ; “Press clubs stand up against Peace TV blackout” 

The Nation: “Journalists’ bodies up in arms over NBTC’s suspension order for Peace TV” 


Khaosod English: “Govt to build ‘cyber warrior’ army to monitor netizens” 

“The government Thursday (10 May 2018) said it will assemble an army of ‘cyber warriors’ to step up internet surveillance…. Insisting that the country is in urgent need of an authority specifically for monitoring what the public does online, the justice minister said the government will install 5,000 such cybersecurity officers within five years.” 



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

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