WEEKLY MEDIA ROUNDUP (9 – 15 July 2016)

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)

[Burma] Court sentences journalists for defamation


[Thailand] Op-ed: Reason to worry about Article 61

See also:
Thai Journalists Association (TJA)
ฝ่ายสิทธิ 2 องค์กรสื่อ เรียกร้องให้ปล่อยตัวนักข่าวประชาไทโดยไม่มีการตั้งข้อกล่าวหาโดยเร็ว
Khaosod English: “Journalist associations demand release of reporter
The Nation: “Media organisations call for release of Prachathai reporter


Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM)
Cambodian Civil Society Condemns Outrageous Murder of Political Analyst Kem Ley

“We reiterate our condemnation of this act, and demand a prompt, independent and thorough investigation, including a forensic examination by an independent and expert pathologist, so that Kem Ley and his family can receive justice.”


Malay Mail Online: “Media group slams probe on Malaysiakini over Zakir Naik report

“SEAPA executive director Ed Legaspi said Malaysiakini had the prerogative to choose which news reports to republish based on relevance to readers, after Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said Malaysiakini would be probed over its article citing a report from Bangladeshi English-language newspaper, The Daily Star.”


Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)
Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Censorship by the gun

“The killing of journalists and media workers is an indictment of the weakness of the rule of law in the Philippines. Out of the 152 work-related cases recorded from 1986, only in 16 cases have gunmen and their accomplices been convicted.”


Thai Journalists Association (TJA)

“Five professional media organisations in Thailand call on National Council for Peace and Order chief to revise its decision to issue an order that gives immunity for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to shut down radio and TV stations deemed airing illegal content to the public.”


Southeast Asia

The Jakarta Post. “IS launches first Malay language newspaper in Southeast Asia: Report

“The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has launched its first Malay language newspaper for its supporters in Southeast Asia, as the terrorist group seeks to expand its reach in the region.”



VOA: “Hun Sen Orders U-Turn on Honorary Title

“Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday (8 July 2016) shelved the requirement made earlier in the year for media to refer to him by his official honorific title, which roughly translates to Lord Prime Minister and Supreme Military Commander.”

See also:
Radio Free Asia: “Cambodia’s Premier Says Media Can Ditch Samdech
The Cambodia Daily: “PM Nixes ‘Samdech’ Order Amid Defiance
The Phnom Penh Post: “Gov’t backs down on ‘samdech’ directive


Global Witness: “Hostile Takeover

“Hun Sen’s family have been key to the longevity of his political career. They hold key posts across the state apparatus – in politics, the military, police, media, and charities – sectors that prop up the premier’s ruling party through propaganda, political donations or brute force.”

See also:
Southeast Asia Globe: “Hun Sen rules Cambodia through media-made ‘cult of personality’


The Cambodia Daily: “Prominent Political Analyst Kem Ley Slain

“Kem Ley, perhaps Cambodia’s most prominent political analyst and a frequent critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen, was shot dead on Sunday (10 July 2016) morning at the convenience store of a gas station where he drank coffee and met with friends most mornings.”

See also:
Al Jazeera. “Kem Ley: Government critic shot dead in Cambodia
Gulf Times: “Hundreds join funeral of murdered Cambodian critic
The Guardian: “Cambodian government critic shot dead in Phnom Penh
Asia Sentinel: “Analyst’s Murder Highlights Cambodian Misrule
The Phnom Penh Post: “Smartphone detectives take to Facebook after Kem Ley’s killing” ; “For civil society, defiance in wake of Kem Ley’s murder
ABC: “Kem Ley, Cambodian activist gunned down in suspected political killing, leaves powerful legacy
Southeast Asia Globe: “Government critic’s murder resurrects Cambodia’s violent past



Coconuts Jakarta: “United Nations declares Internet access and freedom a human right, Indonesia disagrees

“Human rights advocates have long criticized the Indonesian government for its heavy handed approach to Internet censorship, as well as for its controversial UU ITE law, which criminalizes online statements that could be construed as pornographic or defamatory.”



Malay Mail Online: “Putrajaya to investigate Malaysiakini for linking Zakir Naik to terrorism

“News portal Malaysiakini will be investigated by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry for linking controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik to terrorism, minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak vowed.”



The Irrawaddy: “Journalists, Farmer Fined Under Defamation Charge

“A farmer, a former reporter and an editor from The Ladies Journal were each handed fines of 20,000 kyats (around US$17) by a local court in Pegu Division’s Thaegon Township on Tuesday (12 July 2016) after being charged with defamation over a news story.”


PEN International: “PEN Myanmar urges the government to defend Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression

“The 7 Day Daily newspaper published a hard news story on April 24 quoting directly from the source so that the liability of the quoted staff in the article shall fall upon the original source itself. The media should take responsible for correct implication. Moreover, the publication of that information was on solid theoretical ground of people’s right to know.”



Philippine Daily Inquirer: “Probe of media slays given to superbody

“According to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, the President has designated him to lead the new multiagency task force in response to mounting calls for the government to act on the unsolved murders of journalists.”

See also:
IN THE KNOW: Past special bodies
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines: “Will task force bring end to media killings?


Philippine Daily Inquirer. “EDITORIAL: FOI a basic right

“It (executive order on the freedom of information) will not cover the entire government machinery—Congress will still need to pass a proper FOI law—but it will be a considerable first step in his administration’s avowed campaign to stamp out corruption and provide greater transparency to day-to-day governance.”

See also:
Cebu Daily News. “EDITORIAL: Strong media support
Sun.Star Bacolod. “Editorial: Freedom of Information
Tempo. “Editorial: Freedom of Information Law efforts must continue
The Manila Times: “‘Harsh’ FOI bill seeks jail for offenders
philstar.com. “Palace: ‘Historic week’ to include Duterte signing FOI order
Sun.Star Davao. “Andanar: An exciting week ahead
The Philippine Star: “Order for FOI in executive branch out this week
Manila Bulletin: “Angara sees need for Congress to pass FOI law despite Palace’s EO
INQUIRER.net: “EO on FOI still ‘being completed’—Palace


BusinessWorld: “Party-list rep files bill providing security for journalists under threat

“House Bill 913, filed by Kabayan party-list Rep. Herminio Harry L. Roque, Jr., seeks to create a Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program — to be implemented by the Department of Justice (DoJ) — for a journalist who has ‘reasonable grounds to believe that there exist a threat to his life or security.'”


BusinessWorld: “Upgrade of 1946 press freedom law sought

“A bill seeking to widen the coverage of the Press Freedom Law (Republic Act No. 53), which exempts only the publisher, editor and reporter from disclosing a source in a news report or information, has been refiled at the House of Representatives.”

See also:
Manila Bulletin: “Solon to push for revision of Press Freedom Law


GMA News Online: “Internet freedom group hits PLDT, Globe cases against antitrust body

“Winthrop Yu, chairman of ISOC-Philippines Chapter, told GMA News Online that cases by PLDT and Globe before the Court of Appeals intend to ‘obstruct and delay the work of the Competition Commission.'”



Global Voices: “Why Did Facebook Remove a Post Criticizing Singapore Police?

“When Singaporean police interrogated political activist and civil rights lawyer Teo Soh Lung, and searched her apartment and electronic devices without a warrant, Soh Lung spoke up. She wrote about the May 2016 incident on Facebook, and her lawyer posted video of the search on YouTube. The posts went viral…. But Soh Lung’s most recent Facebook post about the incident met a different fate: censorship.”


Channel News Asia. “Consumers mostly satisfied with local media services: MDA

“Consumers in the city-state were mostly satisfied with local media services, with a 76.6 per cent satisfaction rate in a study by the Media Development Authority (MDA). This is up from 75.7 per cent in 2014.”



abcNEWS: “Thailand Tightens Controls on Media Ahead of Charter Vote

“Thailand’s military government has tightened its control of media ahead of a referendum next month on a draft constitution, allowing the shutdown of any radio or television station whose broadcasts are judged to threaten national security.”

See also:
Bangkok Post: “NBTC commissioners win legal immunity
The Nation: “NBTC given absolute power to close broadcast media


Prachatai: “Court frees Prachatai journalist, democracy activists

“The Provincial Court of Ratchaburi Province on Monday afternoon, 11 July 2016, granted permission to the police to detain Taweeesak Kerdpoka, a Prachatai journalist, three anti-junta NDM activists, Pakorn Areekul, Anucha Rungmorakot and Anan Loked, and Phanuwat Songsawadchai, a student activist from Maejo University, Phrae campus…. However, at around 4:30 pm the court granted bail for each of the five for 140,000 baht.”

See also:
Prachatai journalist detained for reporting on referendum
Yahoo! News: “Thai journalist charged under draconian charter law
Reporters Without Borders: “RSF urges Thai junta to drop charges against website reporter
Human Rights Watch. “Thailand: Activists, Journalist Arrested for Vote-No Campaign
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand: “Statement on the detention of Prachatai Journalist
Asian Correspondent: “Journalist groups call on authorities to withdraw charges against Thai reporter


Prachatai English: “Plainclothes authorities search Prachatai office

“After a Prachatai journalist was released on bail yesterday (11 July 2016), soldiers and police officers in plainclothes came to the Prachatai office with a search warrant, asking the Director about Prachatai’s involvement with the anti-junta activist group. The authorities also searched journalists’ personal lockers.”

See also:
Committee to Protect Journalists: “Thailand harasses critical website ahead of constitutional vote


Bangkok Post: “Ambassadors urge open talks over charter

“These laws do not impinge on general freedom of expression — which the government believes is a fundamental element for a democratic society — as long as such expression does not undermine public order or social harmony.”


The Nation: “Two lese majeste suspects released on bail

“Two people accused of lese majeste based on their Facebook chats – who also allegedly committed sedition and violated the Computer Crimes Act after mocking Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Facebook – were released on bail yesterday (8 July 2016).”

See also:
Khaosod English: “Court orders lese majeste Facebookers to be freed



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

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