WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (7 – 13 January 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)
[Philippines] Former broadcaster killed by motorcycle-riding men


National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)
[Philippines] NUJP website is back.

See also:
NUJP STATEMENT: Down but not out. #wewillnotbesilenced
CMFR: NUJP Website Attacked


Southeast Asia

VOA. “HRW: Deteriorating Outlook for Human Rights in SE Asia

“The Human Rights Watch (HRW) annual report released Thursday says Southeast Asia was marked by a deterioration in human rights, with special concerns over Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia…. The rights report pointed to a tightening grip on media and communications by governments through cybercrime laws, sedition and further limits on freedom of speech.”



The Jakarta Post: “Cyberagency, privacy rights and freedom of expression

“In the wake of hoax news items and hate speeches circulating online, the government has reinstated and accelerated a plan to establish a cyberagency. Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto has affirmed that this agency, to be named the National Cyber Agency (BSN), will coordinate with existing entities dealing with cyberactivities in different government bodies such as the police’s cyberunit and the communication ministry’s cyber task force.”

See also:
Ministry defends move to block websites



The Star Online: “Defendants in Anwar’s defamation suit apologise

“Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defamation suit against four defendants has been settled with the former Opposition leader agreeing to accept a public apology…. The terms of settlement were negotiated after five hours in chambers at the Penang High Court here Monday (9 January 2017).”

See also:
Anwar arrives at Penang court for defamation case against newspaper
Free Malaysia Today: “Anwar ‘Bankleaks’ defamation trial begins today
Yahoo! News: “Small crowd gathers at Anwar’s defamation suit against NST


Free Malaysia Today: “Guan Eng wins RM300,000 in defamation suit against BH

“Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has won a defamation suit against the New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad (NSTP) and its journalist over an article on a court proceeding last year…. High Court Justice Rosilah Yop said the court was satisfied that the report in Berita Harian (BH) was distorted and defamatory…. Rosiah ordered NSTP to pay Lim RM300,000 in damages with 5% interest per annum from today and RM35,000 in costs.”


Malay Mail Online: “Freedom of speech and expression must be resolutely protected — George Varughese

“The Sedition Act 1948 remains a serious threat to the freedom of speech and expression, while the misuse of sections 233(1)(a) and 263(2) of the CMA gives rise to the perception that the CMA is yet another dressed-up political weapon…. The Malaysian Bar calls upon the Government to cease its use of, and to repeal, these legislation that negate the exercise of the freedoms of speech, expression, opinion and thought, which are guaranteed in the Federal Constitution to all citizens.”



Frontier Myanmar: “DDOS attack shuts Ministry of Information website

“Information Ministry officials are scrambling to fend off a Distributed Denial of Service attack that has shut down the ministry’s website for much of the past two days…. The ministry is also focused on finding out ‘which country or group of people’ were responsible for the attack, he said, adding that a ministry technical team was investigating.”


Merinews: “JFA demands stern action against Burmese scribe’s killer

“The Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA), while appreciating the Myanmar police for arresting three persons suspecting their role in the murder of Soe Moe Tun on 13 December last, urged the authorities for stringent action against the culprits.”


Frontier Myanmar. “66(d): The defamation menace

“The military junta might have been replaced by a democratically-elected government, but defamation cases are on the rise; and a controversial clause in the 2013 Telecommunications Law is to blame.”

See also:
The Guardian: “Free speech curtailed in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar as prosecutions soar
Asian Correspondent. “Burma: Fresh fears for freedom of speech under Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration



BusinessWorld: “Faster Que murder investigation sought

“An official of the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media has taken to task police investigators over the slow progress of the probe on the murder of Larry S. Que, considered as the first journalist killed under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.”

See also:
The Manila Times: “Task Force probes murder of Catanduanes publisher


GMA News Online: “Hackers hit journalists’ website

“The website of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) was hacked on Monday (9 January 2017) evening and could not be accessed…. NUJP Chairman Ryan Rosauro told GMA News Online the site was down by 8 p.m. and cannot be accessed even by the website’s administrator.”

See also:
ABS-CBN News. “‘Enemies of free speech’ behind cyber attack: NUJP
philstar.com: “NUJP website hacked by ‘enemies of press freedom, free expression’


ABS-CBN News: “Lawyer Argee Guevarra says suspension by Supreme Court contradictory

“Lawyer-activist Roberto ‘Argee’ Guevarra said on Saturday (7 January 2017) he will comply with the Supreme Court’s decision suspending him from practicing law for one year ‘as a matter of duty,’ but said the ruling is contradictory…. ‘This decision . . . creates a paradox in legal history and has far-reaching consequences on the primordial right of every Filipino’s exercise of free speech and of expression,’ he said in a press statement posted on social networking site Facebook.”

See also:
GMA News Online: “Lawyer suspended by SC over insults vs. Belo says punishment a ‘paradox’
Rappler.com: “Lawyer gets 1-year suspension for maligning Vicki Belo on Facebook



The Nation: “Media groups concerned over officials on licensing panel

“Top media organisations yesterday (9 January 2017) expressed their concern over senior state officials designated to jointly sit on a new council committee under the media regulation bill…. They fear such a composition would allow interference in the media and infringement of press freedom, media representatives told government-appointed reformers at a special session. The draft bill, currently overseen by the junta-appointed National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) mass communication committee, contains Article 41, designating a committee empowered to issue or revoke a ‘media licence’.”

See also:
Journalists group warns media bill a setback


Mashable Asia: “Facebook blocks posts in Thailand that the government has blacklisted

“Facebook is now blocking some posts in Thailand based on what the government deems is unsavoury.”

See also:
TechCrunch: “Facebook is censoring posts in Thailand that the government has deemed unsuitable



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

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