WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (7 – 13 October 2017)

Here are some of the press freedom- and free expression-related events and issues you might have missed last week:



Coconuts Jakarta: “Indonesia’s IT ministry announces purchase of IDR221 billion system to automate internet censorship

“Back in August, Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Menkominfo) announced that it wanted to take its censorship abilities to the next level and it looks like a newly purchased system will allow them to do just that starting next year…. Although Menkominfo says it has already blocked over 800,000 websites (mostly for pornography, but also those containing other subject matter related to their ‘negative content’ guidelines including gambling, extremism, sexual education, etc.), the current system requires Menkominfo staff to manually enter websites into the system. But today, the ministry announced they had purchased a new system that will largely automate the censorship process.”


The Jakarta Post: “Criminal Code revision draft may ‘incriminate press’

“Activists and journalists have urged the government and the House of Representatives to scrap articles in the amendment draft of the Law on the Criminal Code (KUHP) that may violate press freedom and incriminate journalists…. Article 329 of the amendment bill stipulates that “a maximum of five years’ imprisonment can be given as punishment to anyone who publishes or allows the publication of anything that could affect the impartiality of judges in a court hearing.”


The Straits Times: “Indonesia shaping up as next frontier for start-ups

“Big-name investors, including Expedia and Alibaba, are pumping billions of dollars into tech start-ups in Indonesia to capitalise on its burgeoning digital economy and potential as South-east Asia’s largest online market…. With a population of more than 250 million, a swelling middle class and availability of cheap mobile devices, the attraction is huge.”



Malay Mail Online: “Local Sabah daily fails to strike out Ismail Sabri’s libel suit

“Sabah newspaper Daily Express failed today to strike out an RM10 million defamation suit by Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob…. Judge Datuk Nordin Hassan said the suit could be heard in Kuala Lumpur as the article in question was also published on the paper’s website and was accessible in peninsular Malaysia.”

See also:

Free Malaysia Today: “Sabah publisher, editor fail to annul Ismail Sabri’s defamation suit


New Straits Times. “5,044 websites blocked: MCMC

“The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has blocked 5,044 websites between 2015 and October last year…. Sabah Multimedia and Communications Ministry information executive councillor Datuk Sapawi Ahmad said those websites had violated the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988.”


Free Malaysia Today: “Groups, individuals condemn crackdown on intellectuals, book banning

“Over 150 individuals, 63 groups join forces to address concern over escalation in on-going process of thought policing to close minds of Malaysians, especially Muslims.”



Myanmar Times: “Democracy group warns of one-sided Rakhine coverage

“Local media has been relying on one-sided press statements — provided by the government — in covering the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state, Myanmar Institute for Democracy (MID) stated Thursday (12 October 2017) in a surveillance report conducted over two weeks…. MID analysed the news produced by 12 mostly local media organisations: four broadcasting, two radio programs, four print and two social media organisations, from August 25 to October 8.”



Rappler.com: “Duterte falsely claims CIA funds Rappler

“Spreading lies by his own defenders, President Rodrigo Duterte falsely claimed on Thursday, October 12, that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States funds Rappler…. Contrary to Duterte’s claims, Rappler is 100% Filipino-owned, and the CIA is not one of its funders.”


The Manila Times: “Heavier penalties vs news fakers urged

“Government officials who give false information or spread ‘fake news’ should be meted with heavier penalties than ordinary people who commit the same act, a lawmaker said on Sunday (8 October 2017).”

See also:

SunStar Cebu. “Seares: Senate’s fake news bill: ‘patay’ — or maybe not


manilastandard.net: “More venues for libel case hearings pushed

“A panel in the House of Representatives has approved a measure seeking to make the libel case hearings more accessible to community journalists and broadcasters…. The House committee on public information, chaired by Bagong Henerasyon Party-List Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, recommended for plenary approval House Bill 685 which provides the venue for the criminal and civil action in libel cases against community journalists, publications or broadcast stations.”


Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Anti-Duterte blogger comes out in the open

“Now it can be told: Despite the male icon on the Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB) page, Mr. Pinoy is actually a woman…. Jover Laurio, whose anonymous blog critical of the administration has reached nearly four million hits last month, revealed her identity on Friday (13 October 2017) after allegedly being harassed and threatened by online supporters of President Duterte.”

See also:

philstar.com: “Blogger behind Pinoy Ako Blog to take online bashers to court
Rappler.com: “Who’s behind Pinoy Ako Blog?
The Manila Times: “Anti-Duterte blogger who ‘libeled’ 7 senators outed



Channel News Asia: “Group claims censorship over film screening at M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018

“Ahead of the official press conference for the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2018, a group has claimed an incident of censorship regarding a film screening…. In a media statement released Tuesday (Oct 10), The Glory Hoes said its proposed presentation of the movie Paris Is Burning had been removed from the festival’s programming and brochure collaterals.”



Bangkok Post: “Thaksin slams poster of lese majeste message

“Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra late on Monday (9 October 2017) night tweeted he was ‘extremely concerned’ to learn that his name had been mentioned in a lese majeste message.”

See also:

The Nation: “Thaksin to sue over alleged lese majeste” ; “Thaksin challenges lese majeste allegations
Khaosod English: “New AG vows to try Thaksin for insulting monarchy


The Nation: “Lese majeste indictment proceeds against Sulak for King Naresuan comments

“Police yesterday (9 October 2017) decided to proceed with the indictment of noted social critic Sulak Sivaraksa for allegedly violating the lese majeste law when he questioned whether King Naresuan’s famous elephant battle during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 16th century actually occurred.”


International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH): “UN expert calls for end to lèse-majesté prosecutions amid more arbitrary detentions

“On 6 October 2017, during a public lecture at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said lèse-majesté prosecutions in Thailand were ‘inconsistent with international law and should be stopped.’ Mr. Kaye also reiterated that Article 112 ‘should be repealed.'”



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

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