Weekly Media Roundup (6 – 12 October 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) 

Alerts: 

[Myanmar] Burma News International (BNI): Yangon Region government explains arrest of journalists from Eleven Media

 

[Philippines] 

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): Police ask media for ‘favorable coverage’

See also: 

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP): On law enforcers’ visits to media outfits ; “NUJP-Bacolod statement on ‘door to door’ visits of policemen to media outlets” 

 

General news 

Facebook Newsroom: “An Update on the Security Issue” 

“As we’ve said, the attackers exploited a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that existed between July 2017 and September 2018. The vulnerability was the result of a complex interaction of three distinct software bugs and it impacted “View As,” a feature that lets people see what their own profile looks like to someone else. It allowed attackers to steal Facebook access tokens, which they could then use to take over people’s accounts. Access tokens are the equivalent of digital keys that keep people logged in to Facebook so they don’t need to re-enter their password every time they use the app.” 

 

Cambodia 

Nikkei Asian Review: “HUN SEN’S CAMBODIA | Leaked Cambodia memo shows Hun Sen tightening grip on dissent” 

“Cambodian authorities are planning to ‘strictly control’ the activities of potential critics of the regime, as Prime Minister Hun Sen aims to further strengthen the power base of his Cambodian People’s Party, according to a leaked government document…. Meanwhile, leading members of civil society groups this week told the Nikkei Asian Review about widespread surveillance and intimidation tactics being used against people the authorities see as political critics.” 

 

Indonesia 

The Jakarta Post: “Jokowi camp questions motivation of IndonesiaLeaks report on top cop” 

“The release of a recent collaborative investigative report accusing a senior police officer of accepting bribes in relation to a meat-import corruption case has stirred controversy amid the campaign for the 2019 presidential election…. The camp of Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo-Ma’ruf Amin has responded by suggesting that the investigation, published by an independent whistleblower platform, IndonesiaLeaks, is not credible.” 

 

Malaysia 

Malaysiakini: “Ministry warns Chinese daily over pro-LGBTQ article?” 

“The Home Ministry has purportedly slapped a Chinese newspaper with a warning letter for publishing an interview with LGBTQ activist Chong Yee Shan…. Malaysiakini had sighted a copy of the letter, dated Sept 21, to Oriental Daily News and sources familiar with the matter had confirmed its authenticity…. Oriental Daily’s editor-in-chief Puah You Lai has remained tightlipped on the matter while Malaysiakini’s repeated attempts to obtain comments from the ministry proved futile.” 

 

Free Malaysia Today (FMT): “NGO leader faces defamation suit over article critical of water situation in Selangor” 

“A civil society leader has been slapped with a defamation suit by Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (SYABAS) for writing an article critical of the water situation in the state…. Isham Jalil, who is president of Sukarelawan Malaysia, said he received the summons and the statement of claim from a legal firm representing the company two days ago (9 October 2018).” 

 

The Star Online: “Media must be independent for a democratic press” 

“There will be some changes in the ‘new’ Malaysia landscape, which will benefit journalism, said the Malaysian Press Institute…. Its chief executive officer Datuk Dr Chamil Wariya said he was optimistic of this…. To have a democratic press, he said all media must be independent and free.” 

See also: 

Print media need to change to stay relevant, says CM” 

 

Myanmar 

The Irrawaddy: “Yangon Govt Sues Eleven Media for Offenses Against the State” 

“Three journalists from Eleven Media Group were arrested on Wednesday (10 October 2018) after the Yangon Regional Government filed a lawsuit against them for committing an offense against the State for publishing ‘incorrect information’ about the government…. Managing editors U Kyaw Zaw Lin, Nari Min and chief reporter U Phyo Wai Win were summoned to Tamwe Police Station for testimonials on Wednesday morning before being brought to the township court to be charged under Article 505 (b) of Myanmar’s Penal Code.” 

See also: 

Dishonoring Gov’t, Causing Public Distrust Motives for Eleven Media Group Lawsuit” 

Eleven. “MPC denounces Yangon regional government’s charge against three senior journalists of Weekly Eleven” ; “The ongoing use of repressive and outdated legislation to suppress and control media has a detrimental impact on democracy and press freedom: IFJ” 

Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Police Poised to Arrest Reporters on Unclear Charges” ; “Media Watchdogs Cry Foul as Three Myanmar Journalists Arrested on Incitement Charges” 

Reuters: “Myanmar newspaper journalists held after handing themselves in to police” 

NHK WORLD. “Backstories – the facts behind the news | Exclusive Interview: Aung San Suu Kyi” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “Myanmar : RSF calls for release of three Eleven Media journalists” 

International Press Institute (IPI): “IPI demands release of Eleven Media journalists in Myanmar” 

PEN America: “Three Journalists from Eleven Media Group Arrested in Myanmar Must be Released” 

Amnesty International. “Myanmar: Journalists arrested in ‘another alarming assault on press freedom’” 

 

The Irrawaddy: “Nationalist Writer Handed 2-Year Jail Term For Incitement” 

“A court in Minkin Township, Sagaing Region, on Monday (8 October 2018) sentenced a nationalist writer to the maximum two years in prison for incitement over a speech he made there in March, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer…. Maung Thway Chuun, also known as U Myin Soe, had been on trial since June under Article 505 (c) of the Penal Code, which covers the incitement of conflict between ethnic or religious groups. He was sued by U Naing Naing Zaw, a local government administrator.” 

See also: 

Eleven: “Writer Maung Thway Chun receives two-year jail sentence for ‘inciting conflict’” 

 

The Irrawaddy: “Arakanese Activist Arrested by Police in Sittwe” 

“Arakanese social activist and university student Aung Zaw Lin, also known as Aung Chay, was arrested by Sittwe police at around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday (9 October 2018) as he and two colleagues were returning home from Sittwe University on a motorcycle … Authorities had not made any announcement about the arrest as of Tuesday evening, but some Sittwe residents speculated it was linked to the death of Military Intelligence Corporal Win Htike, also known as Phoe Lone, on Sept. 25. The corporal was shot in the back and killed while attending a festival in Sittwe with his wife and child.” 

 

Philippines 

Rappler.com: “Policemen visit newspaper office in Cebu, too” 

“A day after policemen visited a newspaper office in Bacolod City to ask for favorable coverage, another group of police officers dropped by a newspaper outfit in Cebu City following the order of its higher command to establish a partnership with the media…. Last Thursday, October 4, two policemen dropped by the SunStar Cebu office at P. del Rosario Street in Cebu City to take photos of its reporters and editors.” 

See also: 

SunStar Bacolod: “Policemen visit media outfits for partnership” 

 

Topic: “Meet the Female Nightcrawlers of Manila” 

“Alleged drug dealers and users are not the only ones under the gun. The country’s media workers are also under siege, with journalists subjected to online attacks and insults from both politicians and the public, brought on by presidential propaganda. (At a press conference before taking office, Duterte explained to the assembled press, ‘Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination.’) This past January, the International Federation of Journalists deemed the Philippines the most dangerous country in Southeast Asia for journalists; the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Global Impunity Index ranks it fifth worldwide after Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan. Local Filipino journalists covering politics and crime are most likely to be targeted for murder; around 42 journalists have been killed with ‘complete impunity’ in the past decade…. Female journalists are particularly at risk. Sixty percent of women in the Philippines report having experienced sexual harassment in their day-to-day lives, and female reporters are often the targets of rape and death threats and misogynistic comments online.” 

See also: 

Al Jazeera. “Trolls and threats: Online harassment of female journalists” 

 

The New York Times: “Soldiers in Facebook’s War on Fake News Are Feeling Overrun” 

“False news is so established and severe in the Philippines that one Facebook executive calls it ‘patient zero’ in the global misinformation epidemic. To fight back in this country, the Silicon Valley social media giant has turned to Mr. Esmaquel and others who work for Rappler, an online news start-up with experience tackling fake stories on Facebook…. While Rappler’s fact checkers work closely with Facebook to investigate and report their findings, they believe the company could do much more.” 

 

ABS-CBN News: “‘Thinking Pinoy’ blogger pleads not guilty to libel” 

“‘Thinking Pinoy’ blogger Rey Joseph ‘RJ’ Nieto entered Wednesday (10 October 2018) a not guilty plea to the libel case filed against him by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV…. The case stemmed from Nieto’s social media post in October 2017 claiming that US President Donald Trump supposedly called Senator Antonio Trillanes IV a ‘narco’, a colloquial word for drug lord.” 

See also: 

The Philippine Star: “Pro-Duterte blogger sued for libel pleads not guilty” 

 

INQUIRER.net: “No suppression of freedom of speech in campuses, says Albayalde” 

“There will be no suppression of freedom of speech and expression in campuses, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde assured on Monday (8 October 2018), after the military claimed that communists were recruiting students in 18 universities to join the alleged ‘Red October’ ouster plot…. This after he earlier said that professors who were instigating ideas against the government to students may face charges.” 

 

ABS-CBN News. “Pulse Asia: Nearly all Pinoys who go online use social media, most aware fake news widespread” 

“Nearly all Filipinos who have internet access go online to use social media but only half said these affect their political views, with a majority aware of the prevalence of fake news in the internet, a recent Pulse Asia survey showed.” 

 

Thailand 

Bangkok Post: “(Editorial) Cyber army holds promise” 

“The new military lineup that moved into formation on Oct 1 has quickly unveiled plans to reinforce Thailand’s “cyber army”. Such mentions of this opaque force in the past have usually been a warning of another tightening of Big Brother-like surveillance, accompanied by arrests. The cyber army, frequently touted for 15 years but never publicly revealed, supposedly exists to protect the country from a cyber war. Perhaps this time, the Royal Thai Armed Forces can be persuaded to step up their protection while also allowing citizens more freedom online.” 

 

Vietnam 

Amnesty International. “Vietnam: five more jailed in ‘relentless crackdown’ on freedom of speech” 

“Five peaceful protesters have been handed prison sentences of between eight and 15 years today (5 October 2018), after a court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted them of ‘activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration’…. Luu Van Vinh (sentenced to 15 years), Nguyen Quoc Hoan (13 years), Nguyen Van Duc Do (11 years), Tu Cong Nghia (ten years), and Phan Trung (eight years) have been convicted under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code.” 

 

NOTE 

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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