WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (8 – 14 April 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)

Alert:

[Thailand] Ever-expanding powers of authorities set dangerous precedent

 

Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily: “Ministry, Cambodian Journalists Strengthen Links to China

“Information Ministry officials and state-affiliated Cambodian journalists will receive training from and pay visits to their Chinese counterparts under a new agreement signed by the two countries on Monday (10 April 2017).”

 

Indonesia

The Jakarta Post: “Indonesian Facebooker acquitted of defamation charges

“The Makassar District Court in South Sulawesi cleared on Tuesday (11 April 2017) a woman of defamation charges for comments she made in a Facebook post…. Yusniar, a resident of Makassar, had earlier been detained and charged with defamation under the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law for writing a comment that offended a local councilor.”

 

Jakarta Globe. “Balance Between Rights and Duties Should Protect Journalists From Violence: Wiranto

“Chief Security Minister Wiranto said it is important to maintain a balance between rights and duties to avoid violence against journalists on duty…. Wiranto spoke during a forum titled ‘Violence Against Journalists on Duty’ at Persada Executive Club on Wednesday (12/04), which also saw in attendance Air Force (TNI AU) spokesman Air Commodore Jemi Trisonjaya, head of Indonesian Press Council Yosep Adi Prasetyo, head of Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) Margiono, as well as representatives of government institutions and media.”

 

Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN): “Indonesia’s Tempo Leads Asia into Cross-Border Collaborations

“Newsrooms in Asia have traditionally worked alone, guarding their sources and tip-offs fiercely and keeping their stories and investigations in-house. But after attending GIJN’s Asian Investigative Journalism Conferences and participating in the global Panama Papers investigation, Indonesia’s top newsweekly Tempo has been inspired to reach out to Asian colleagues on cross-border collaborations. Last year, Tempo worked with The Reporter from Taiwan to expose slavery of Indonesians aboard Taiwanese fishing ships and this year, they collaborated with Malaysiakini to expose human trafficking networks of Indonesians through Malaysia…. GIJN’s Eunice Au asked Tempo’s Managing Editor Wahyu Dhyatmika about forging a new era in Asian investigative journalism…”

 

Malaysia

Malaysiakini: “‘Nanyang show-cause letter politically-motivated’

“The show-cause letter sent to Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau by the Home Ministry is an ‘intimidation’ and ‘politically motivated’, said a former executive director of South-East Asian Press Alliance.”

 

ARTICLE 19. “Malaysia: Cease Arrests and Investigations of Critics and Protect the Right to Freedom of Expression

“ARTICLE 19 is concerned about the arrest and remand of two unnamed social media users and the ongoing police search for a further two social media users in the space of just two days for comments made on Facebook. We call upon the Malaysian Government to immediately release both individuals who are currently held in police custody and who have been further remanded[i] for investigation under the Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), and to cease all other arrests and investigations of individuals targeted for expressing their opinions. This is part of a broader trend that must end.”

 

Malaysiakini: “Penang Gerakan decries application under FOI rejected

“The Penang government has rejected a Gerakan Youth leader’s applications for three reclamation agreements under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment…. State Gerakan acting Youth chief Jason Loo applied for the documents on March 14 following a dispute in figures involving reclamation of Seri Tanjong Pinang 1 (STP1),2 (STP2) and Gurney Wharf.”

See also:

The Star Online: “Penang Gerakan denied access to three land reclamation agreements

 

Myanmar

DVB: “Poster of ‘fake news’ on NLD official jailed 6 months on defamation charge

“A man going by the name Phoe Htaung, who was on trial for using the official seal of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in a Facebook post that erroneously declared the resignation of senior party official Win Htein, was sentenced to six months in prison on Friday (7 April 2017) under the Telecommunications Law’s controversial article 66(d).”

 

Radio Free Asia: “Jailed Myanmar Ruling Party Researcher Freed During Prisoner Amnesty

“A researcher for Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy party was released from prison on Wednesday (12 April 2017) as part of a pardon for roughly 1,800 prisoners who have almost completed their jail terms as the country celebrates its New Year…. On April 7, a court in Kamaryut Township in the north central part of the commercial capital Yangon sentenced and jailed Myo Yan Naung Thein to six months in detention for criticizing Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the country’s commander-in-chief of the armed forces, in a Facebook post.”

See also:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Criminal defamation law blocks freedom of information

 

The Irrawaddy: “Communications Ministry Discusses Amending Article 66(d) of Telecommunications Law

“The Ministry of Transport and Communications is holding intra-ministry discussions to amend Article 66(d) of Burma’s controversial Telecommunications Law, said director general U Soe Thein of the communications department.”

 

Thailand

The Nation: “Spring Radio FM station suspended by NBTC

“The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has suspended broadcasts on the 1 Por Nor FM 98.5MHz radio station of Spring Radio from Thursday (13 April 2017) until next Monday (April 17), according to NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasith.”

 

Prachatai English: “New media bill threatens ‘unlicensed’ journalists with imprisonment

“Despite opposition from media groups, the junta is proposing a law to punish unlicensed journalists with two years in prison…. On 10 April 2017, Maj Gen Pisit Pao-In, chairman of the media subcommittee of the junta’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), announced that under the new Media Bill, media workers who do not possess official licenses could face two years’ imprisonment, or a fine of 60,000 baht, or both.”

See also:

The Nation: “NSRA panel firm on media licensing system” ; “NRSA whip set to get media bill” ; “TJA adviser laments reform panel’s choice of ‘authoritarianism’ in regulating media industry

 

Khaosod English: “Govt bans ‘any online communication’ with three monarchy critics

“Three outspoken critics of the Royal Family became persona non grata on the internet Wednesday (12 April 2017) under an outright government ban on contacting or sharing content from them, either ‘directly or indirectly.'”

See also:

The Nation: “Ministry tells public to shun on social media three lese majeste suspects” ; “Digital Ministry slammed for ‘ambiguous’ ban on online contact with junta critics
Bangkok Post: “Online contact with regime critics banned
Amnesty International. “Thailand: Ban on critics shows brazen determination to silence dissent

 

Vietnam

Radio Free Asia: “Vietnam’s Security Ministry Pushes Draft Bill Banning Use of Recording Devices

“Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has proposed a draft bill banning the use of audio and video recording devices as a national security measure, a move that bloggers and citizen journalists say is intended to prevent them from doing their jobs in the repressive nation that restricts the media.”

 

NOTE

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

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