Weekly Media Roundup (6 – 12 July 2019)

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] Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR). “UPDATE: Second youth activist charged and sent to pre-trial detention in relation to third anniversary of the killing of Dr. Kem Ley

See also:

Third anniversary of the killing of Dr. Kem Ley marked by restrictions to the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly, including arrests of youth activists


Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): “Radio Broadcaster Shot Dead in North Cotabato

See also:

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): “Kidapawan radio anchor shot dead” ; “NUJP condemns the killing of Kidapawan Broadcaster



[Cambodia] Three years and still no effective investigation into Dr. Kem Ley’s killing

[Indonesia] Aliansi Jurnalis Independent (AJI, Alliance of Independent Journalists) “Joint statement – Indonesia: Civil society groups call on the President to side with victims of sexual harassment and violence

[Malaysia] Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ): “Wan Ji’s enhanced sentence shows Sedition Act must go



[Myanmar] Burma News International (BNI): “German spyware tools being used in Myanmar

[Philippines] Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): “PPI Elects New Officers


General news

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “New pledges not credible without action, say press freedom groups

“On 9 July, 33 press freedom and media development organisations met in London in advance of the Global Media Freedom Conference to call on all participating States to ensure the protection and safety of all journalists and media workers in compliance with their existing obligations and international standards…. The group, representing and working with hundreds of thousands of journalists and media workers, said new pledges will only be credible if States immediately: Release all imprisoned journalists; Stop killing, attacking and denigrating journalists; Investigate and prosecute all murders of journalists.”

See also:

Rappler.com: “[OPINION] Immediate, decisive action required to protect journalists

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): “UNESCO welcomes the establishment of a Global Media Defense Fund, with initial funding by UK and Canada

“The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, has warmly welcomed the establishment of a new Global Media Defense Fund at the initiative of the United Kingdom and Canada and their respective pledges of £3 million (US$3,8 M) over five years and of 1 million Canadian Dollars (US$ 765,000) to the Fund…. The purpose of the Global Media Fund is to support the UN Plan on the Safety of Journalists, whose implementation is led by UNESCO, which will also administer the Fund.”

Thomson Foundation. “Nothing but the truth: the young journalists defending media freedom

“This is the seventh year of the award, in partnership with the UK Foreign Press Association, dedicated to finding and inspiring ambitious young journalists from across the globe. Judges of the award look for stories that are revelatory, prompt public debate and have led to, or have the potential to lead to, positive change in society.” 


Southeast Asia

The Daily Swig: “ASEAN nations strengthen cybersecurity ties through new cooperation agreement

“Governments across Southeast Asia have further strengthened their ties by agreeing to improve their cooperation within cyberspace…. At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, last month, the alliance reaffirmed its commitment to knowledge sharing to protect the region’s digital industries … Countries within the region – Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore – will also introduce a Digital Masterplan in 2025, which will see the formation of an ASEAN open data network and digital data governance framework.”



Al Jazeera. “Kem Ley murder: Groups slam arrest of activists seeking new probe

“Human rights groups have condemned the arrest of seven activists in Cambodia, as they renewed calls for an independent investigation into the murder of a prominent political analyst three years ago…. Commentator Kem Ley was shot dead at a gas station in the capital, Phnom Penh, in broad daylight on July 10, 2016.”



AsiaNews.it: “Victim of harassment, female teacher convicted of defamation asks Widodo for a pardon

“Sentenced to prison for recording a conversation with her alleged harasser, a teacher from Mataram, the largest city on Lombok Island and capital of the province of West Nusa Tenggara (NNT), has asked Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo for a pardon…. For the past few days, Indonesian public opinion has been caught up with the case of 38-year-old Baiq Nuril Maknun (pictured), who has become the face of the country’s #MeToo movement…. Next week, Maknun will start to serve a six-month prison sentence after she was convicted of defamation, plus a fine of 500 million Indonesian rupiahs (around US$ 35,000). A presidential pardon is her last hope, since she has exhausted all other legal venues.”



Free Malaysia Today (FMT): “Suaram questions Pakatan’s will after Fahmi ruling

“A human rights group has questioned the Pakatan Harapan administration’s commitment to upholding freedom of expression after the Court of Appeal upheld a conviction of a graphic designer found guilty of uploading an offensive caricature of former prime minister Najib Razak…. Expressing its disappointment with the court’s decision, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said that despite the change in administration, there had been no move for the politically motivated prosecution against Fahmi Reza to be withdrawn.”

See also:

It’s separation of powers, not lack of freedom, lawyer says on Fahmi ruling

Malay Mail. “Suaram: Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold Fahmi Reza’s conviction disappointing

Malaysiakini: “Clown-face caricature – Fahmi Reza’s conviction stays

Malay Mail: “Why the increased jail sentence for Wan Ji? lawyer asks amid renewed calls for Sedition Act repeal

“The public prosecutor must explain why preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin was handed a heavier jail sentence despite Putrajaya’s stated intention to repeal the Sedition Act, a lawyer said today (9 July 2019)…. Syahredzan Johan said that the one-year sentence was not in line with the government’s efforts to repeal the Act.”

See also:

Free Malaysia Today (FMT): “Wan Ji’s jailing casts serious doubt on PH’s reform pledge

The Star Online: “Engage, not threaten

“According to ReformARTsi, the government’s effort to depict the performance as ‘threatening the name and the image of the country’ smacks of the paranoid rhetoric of our previous regime…. ‘Rather, this is an opportunity for a respectful discussion from all sides about the importance of art, freedom and the education of open minds in discussing issues affecting us as a nation. As artists, we welcome dialogue, rather than top-down directives. We hope that the government will take this opportunity seriously to engage and exchange views,’ it said…. ReformARTsi is a coalition of 80 Malaysian artists and 44 arts organisations advocating for policy change in the areas of finance for the arts, arts education, and freedom of expression.”

The Star Online: “Two main areas of focus to ensure media freedom, says Gobind

“The Communications and Multimedia Ministry is looking at two main areas of focus to encourage better media freedom in the country, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo…. ‘We have to recognise that we need to do more to push ahead with our reform agenda when it comes to press and media freedom. Two of the main areas that I am looking at is to ensure that all those laws that are required to be amended and abolished are acted on as soon as possible, and also the setting up of the media council,’ he said when speaking to the Malaysian media here Thursday (July 11)…. Gobind had earlier addressed a plenary session of the two-day Global Conference for Media Freedom, the first of its kind to be organised, that kicked off here Wednesday.”

New Straits Times: “‘New film classifications will reduce censorship’

“Last year, LPF (Malaysian Film Censorship Board) approved 2,283 films for screening. A total of 677 films were censored and allowed to be shown in theatres … Zamberi (Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz) said like other laws, Malaysia’s film censorship guidelines need to be reviewed from time to time to remain relevant…. He said there were plans to expand the current classifications from U, P13 and 18 to even more categories.”



The Irrawaddy: “Justice for Toddler Rape Campaigner Bailed Out, Charged with Defamation

“A government official who has been campaigning for justice in a toddler rape case at a private nursery school in Naypyidaw has been released on bail, after being detained and charged by police under the Electronic Transactions Law for defaming security forces on Facebook with his criticism of the investigation of the case…. Dr. Win Ko Ko Thein, a.k.a. Thetka Moe Nyo on social media—a deputy director of Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports—was interrogated by police at the Pyinmana Police Station in Pyinmana Township after being detained in Naypyidaw Tuesday (9 July 2019) morning.”

The Irrawaddy: “With Myanmar’s Internet Expansion, Cybercrimes Soar

“As internet access in Myanmar expanded with affordable SIM cards and reliable 3G and 4G network infrastructure, between 2015 and 2018 the country recorded over 2,000 cybercrimes, according to statistics from the Home Affairs Ministry…. A crime unit tasked with investigating cybercrimes was established in 2015 under the ministry, and the number of cybercrimes reported to the unit has increased year by year, said Police Colonel Nyunt Wai of the cybercrime unit…. Most of the cybercrimes reported involved online fraud and online sexual violence, the police colonel said.”



SunStar Manila: “Kidapawan radio commentator gunned down

“A commentator of Brigada News FM in Kidapawan City, Cotabato was gunned down on Wednesday evening, July 10…. A report from the Police Regional Office in Soccsksargen (PRO 12) identified the victim as Eduardo Dizon…. Dizon was shot dead by unidentified attackers while he was on board his vehicle along the National Highway in Kidapawan City, capital of Cotabato province…. Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said he ordered PRO 12 Director Eliseo Rasco to immediately conduct an in-depth investigation on the incident.”

See also:

Philippine Daily Inquirer. “WHAT WENT BEFORE: 13 journalists killed under Duterte admin

ABS-CBN News: “CHR calls for justice for slain Kidapawan radio broadcaster

Al Jazeera: “Radio journalist killed in the Philippine island of Mindanao

Kodao Productions: “Relentless red-tagging in Cagayan de Oro ‘scary and dangerous’

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called on those behind the relentless red-tagging of human rights, media, church and lawyers’ organizations in Cagayan de Oro City to stop their activities as it ‘endangers lives….’ For the eighth time since February, the NUJP and other organizations and personalities were again listed in posters, this time plastered on the walls of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) church in Cagayan de Oro’s Barangay Agusan Sunday (7 July 2019)…. Along with the NUJP, the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao-National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, the IFI, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and others were listed as so-called fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.”

Doughty Street Chambers: “Amal Clooney and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC to lead team of international lawyers representing Maria Ressa

“Amal Clooney and  Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, barristers at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in international law and human rights, have confirmed that they will act with a team of international lawyers as counsel to renowned journalist Maria Ressa…. Ms Ressa is the CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, one of the leading online news organisations in the Philippines. Ms Ressa was formerly a journalist at CNN and has received multiple prestigious awards for her journalism. She was one of four journalists named as Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2018 for taking ‘great risks in pursuit of greater truth’.” 

See also:

Rappler.com: “Amal Clooney to lead team of int’l lawyers representing Maria Ressa

International Observatory Human Rights: “Amal Clooney to Lead Maria Ressa’s International Legal Team

The Guardian. “Philippines: Amal Clooney to defend journalist Maria Ressa in press freedom fight

The Globe and Mail: “Maria Ressa, icon for media freedom, says journalism is ‘under attack’ around world

CNN: “Duterte critic Maria Ressa says attacks on press freedom come from all sides

Cebu Daily News (CDN): “PPI hails Civic Journalism Community Press awardees; CDN wins 3 of 5 daily awards

“Cebu Daily News, on its 21st and last year as a print publication, was recognized with three wins— Best Edited Community Newspaper, Best in Editorial Page and Best in Photojournalism—by the Philippine Press Institute during the 2018 Civic Journalism Community Press Awards held at Hotel Jen in Manila City on Friday, July 5 … The PPI, as it celebrated its 55th year as a national association of Philippine newspapers, acknowledged the challenges faced by the print industry.”



Prachatai English: “8 people arrested for sharing social media post claiming police were behind activist attack

“Instead of investigating the attack on activist Sirawith Serithiwat and detaining the attackers, the police have arrested 8 people for sharing social media saying that Deputy Police Commissioner Pol Gen Chaiwat Ketworachai of being behind the attack on activists…. Police Spokesperson Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen said on Wednesday (10 July) that an investigation by the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) found that 13 people were involved in disseminating an allegation that the police were involved in the recent attacks on activists, and that eight people have confessed to sharing the post without knowing that it was a false report.”

The Nation Thailand: “Woman behind ‘Nuay’ good citizen story denies charges of sharing false information online

“A Thai woman who last month claimed on Facebook that a mysterious ‘good citizen’ had returned her expensive wallet via the post and prompting praise from Thai netizens, has denied charges under the Computer Act, a senior police officer said on Tuesday (9 July 2019)…. Pol Colonel Siriwat Deepor, spokesman and deputy commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police, said the woman insisted during her meeting with police on Monday afternoon that the story was true. She said she was unaware of details about the ‘good citizen’ whose nickname was ‘Nuay’, according to the note left by the man in a postbox containing the returned wallet, said Siriwat.”

Bangkok Post: “Media bans lifted, military court cases transferred

“Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has put his special powers to good use one last time by lifting media bans and transferring all cases involving offences against his orders to civilian courts, ending the military rule which has been a subject of much criticism at home and abroad for the past five years…. The court case and jurisdiction transfers are part of a sweeping order, expected to be his last, to repeal 66 of some 460 orders and announcements he has issued since the 2014 military coup.”

See also:

Voice of America (VOA): “New Thai Leader Keeps Junta’s Powers of Arbitrary Detention

Bangkok Post: “(Opinion) When ‘doing a favour’ reveals attitudes of hate

“‘Rob Kuan Duay Kha’, ‘Please proceed’ or ‘Do me a favour’ sounds polite enough. When the comment was made to a public post encouraging people to go and slap Future Forward Party spokeswoman and MP Pannika Wanich, however, it exposed how dangerous Thai society is, how much hatred and violence are lurking under the seemingly peaceful facade…. Pop singer Amita ‘Tata’ Young becomes the latest celebrity to provoke political controversy. The singer ‘liked’ an Instagram post that said: ‘Let’s wait to slap E Chor at the arrival lane’…. While Chor is Pannika’s nickname, the ‘E’ is a rude, derogatory form of honorific. The post also called her ‘Nak Phaendin’, or scum of the land, a dehumanised term used by right-wingers to justify the persecution of left-leaning activists during the polarising 1970s. It carried hashtags that malign her, making fun of her physical appearance…. The singer who earlier called on people to stop cyber bullying after being subject to ridicule about her own weight gain went another step by adding her own ‘do me a favour’ comment to the controversial post.”



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.

Hazwany Jamaluddin

Program Assistant at Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

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