Weekly Media Roundup (9 – 15 June 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)


[Philippines]  Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR): Davao del Norte publisher killed in shooting incident



[Cambodia] Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR): Civil society rejects government attack on freedom of expression




IFEX. “Malaysia’s election, Afghan attacks, defiant newspapers: Asia-Pacific in May” 



IFEX. “Malaysia: Promise of a change” 


Southeast Asia 

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “CPJ announces 2018 International Press Freedom Award winners” 

“The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor journalists from Sudan, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam with its 2018 International Press Freedom Awards. The journalists have faced legal action, physical attacks, threats, and arrests in retaliation for their work. CPJ is also honoring Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, founder and chief executive officer of the news website Rappler, with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.” 



Asian Correspondent. “Cambodia: ‘Sweeping restrictions’ in new media rules threaten press freedom” 

“New rules for media introduced by the Cambodian government in the lead up to next month’s election could impose sweeping restrictions that prevent journalists reporting on controversial issues, UN rights monitors warned on Friday (15 June 2018)…. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who will be running in the July 29 election without any credible opposition, has mounted a broad campaign against dissent and said this month his administration was watching out for any online news that causes ‘instability.'” 

See also: 

United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures. “Cambodia: UN experts express concerns about media freedoms ahead of vote” 


The Phnom Penh Post: “US lawmakers call for release of RFA journos” 

“Members of the US Congress issued a letter on Wednesday (13 June 2018) criticising the arrest of two Radio Free Asia (RFA) journalists, claiming it was part of a campaign by the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen…. However, Council of Ministers’ spokesman, Phay Siphan, shot back, saying the letter was just the personal opinion of a few members of the US Congress and does not have any jurisdiction in Cambodia.” 


TIME: “Cambodia Is Putting an Australian Filmmaker on Trial for Espionage. His Family Says He’s Innocent” 

“Sitting alone in the dock wearing a tatty orange jump suit, James Ricketson turns around to give the press in the courtroom a wearied shrug. The 69-year-old Australian filmmaker has been accused of espionage in Cambodia, and attended the first hearing Friday (15 June 2018) of a trial that could see him imprisoned for up to 10 years…. Proceedings were conducted in Khmer, but he initially didn’t have a translator. Nor was his lawyer present.” 



The Jakarta Post: “South Kalimantan journalist dies while being detained on defamation charges” 

“The journalist, identified as Muhammad Yusuf from online news portal KemajuanRakyat.co.id, died at Kotabaru Regional Public Hospital in Kotabaru, South Kalimantan, around two weeks after being transferred from the Kotabaru Police’s detention center to Kotabaru penitentiary on May 27…. Yusuf had been charged with defamation and hate speech as stipulated under the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Law.” 



Malaysian Digest. “Kadir Jasin: No Real Press Freedom If BN, Govt Hold Shares” 

“News outlets in Malaysia will never truly be independent as long as their shares are held by Barisan Nasional (BN) parties, or even the present Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin asserted.” 

See also: 

Voice of America (VOA): “Malaysian Press Await Promised Reforms” 


The Malaysian Insight: “More freedom of information, less secrecy, says academic” 

“There should more freedom of information and less secrecy in governance if Malaysia is break away from the Barisan Nasional way of doing things and make progress, said a law academic…. Universiti Malaya Faculty of Law associate professor Dr Azmi Sharom said such a change was crucial for check and balance.” 

See also: 

The Star Online: “Express your views but within reason, PKR leader urges Malaysians” 


Daily Express: “Two govt staff win suit over social media libel” 

“Two government servants won their suit against two individuals over defamatory remarks about them in WhatsApp Messenger, a free messaging app, two years ago. It is believed to be the first case involving social media in Sabah…. On Friday (8 June 2018), Sessions Court Judge Indra Ayub found that the plaintiffs, Siti Halizah Yahya and Mohd Faiz Mohd Yusof, had proved their defamation case against one Jusinah Kamin and Mokti Norbek, as the first and second defendants, and that the defence of justification and/or fair comment was not sustainable.” 


New Naratif: “Empowerment Through the Graphic Arts” 

“The fall of the Barisan Nasional government in Malaysia’s recent general election was heralded by many—especially those who had long been in opposition politics—as a historic victory, the culmination of years of hard work. But for graphic designer, street artist and political activist Fahmi Reza, the struggle goes beyond a change in government. Regardless of who is in power, his political activism, done through his art, continues to hold everyone to account.” 



Frontier Myanmar: “Detained Reuters journalists say they were mistreated by police” 

“A Yangon court heard yesterday (11 June 2018) that detained Reuters journalists Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo were forced to kneel during an hours-long interrogation in the days following their arrest…. Police Captain Myint Lwin fielded questions about the treatment of the journalists when they were held incommunicado after their arrest on December 12.” 

See also: 

Mizzima: “Reuters journalists mark six months in prison” 

Reuters: “Witness no-show as Reuters reporters mark six months in Myanmar detention” ; “Reuters reporters say deprived of sleep during Myanmar probe” 


Radio Free Asia (RFA). “Radio Free Asia Ends TV Broadcasts on DVB: RFA President” 

“Radio Free Asia (RFA) aired its last original TV broadcast on the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) network on Myanmar’s MRTV channel this evening (11 June 2018). The Myanmar government told DVB that it could not carry RFA’s programming if the word ‘Rohingya’ continued to be used. As a policy, RFA does not accept interference by outside individuals, groups, or governments in making editorial decisions. RFA’s Burmese Service’s TV programming was available on the network since October 2017. RFA content and programming will continue to be available for its audience in Myanmar on shortwave radio, social media (YouTube/ Facebook) and RFA Burmese’s website.” 

See also: 

The Associated Press (AP): “US broadcaster loses Myanmar outlet over Rohingya name” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “Myanmar bans Radio Free Asia for using the term ‘Rohingyas’” 

PEN America: “Discontinuation of Radio Free Asia broadcasts in Myanmar constitutes further shrinking of space for free expression” 


Myanmar Times: “Activists accuse govt of failing to protect freedom of speech” 

“The National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government has failed to uphold freedom of speech during its two years in office, especially media freedom and freedom of peaceful assembly, a local activist organisation said…. The Freedom of Expression Activist Organisation said the number of legal complaints filed by authorities and agencies against individuals has increased since the NLD came to power in 2016.” 


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Myanmar Denies Role in Closing of ‘Hate Speech’ Facebook Accounts” 

“Myanmar government officials on Friday (8 June 2018) denied any role in the banning by Facebook of the accounts of ultranationalist Buddhist monks accused of hate speech directed at the country’s minority Muslim communities, saying they had only requested that the monks’ postings be monitored.” 



Philippine News Agency (PNA): “Inter-agency task force to probe journalist slay in Panabo” 

“An inter-agency task force is taking over the investigation into the killing of Panabo City-based publisher and journalist Dennis Denora…. This was bared by Senior Supt. Allan Manibog, Davao del Norte Police Provincial Office director, on Wednesday (13 June 2018), who added that the task force is in line with President Rodrigo’s Administrative Order No.1 creating the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) headed by Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco.” 

See also: 

Panabo cops eye 5 persons of interest in journalist slay” 

The Philippine Star: “EDITORIAL – Continuing impunity” 


Social Weather Stations (SWS). “4th Quarter 2017 and 1st Quarter 2018 Social Weather Surveys: 67% of Pinoy Internet users say there is a serious problem of fake news in the Internet” 

“Forty-two percent of adult Filipinos are now using the Internet, according to the First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey fielded on March 23-27, 2018. This is a point higher than the 41% in June 2017 [Chart 1, Table 1]…. Among adult Filipino Internet users, 67% said the fake news problem in the Internet is serious (40% very serious and 26% somewhat serious, correctly rounded), 20% were undecided, and 13% said it is not serious (9% somewhat not serious and 4% not serious at all).” 


Manila Bulletin: “Government-owned TV network to air Chinese shows” 

“For the first time, Filipinos will now be able to watch Chinese television series, documentaries, cartoons and movies all dubbed in Tagalog over the government-owned People’s Television (PTV).” 

See also: 

InterAksyon.com: “Does PTV-4’s decision to air Chinese shows violate its own mandate?” 


Bulatlat.com: “NUJP vows to continue fighting for press freedom, labor rights” 

“Amid the intensifying and relentless attacks on the Philippine media, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) held its 10th National Congress, June 8-10 at Casa Pura in Quezon City…. More than 50 journalists representing 40 chapters from different parts of the country attended the NUJP Congress with the theme, ‘Defend Journalism, Defend Media Workers’ Rights.'” 



Reuters: “Singapore deports South Korean media staff as Trump-Kim summit security tightens” 

“Two staff from South Korea’s national broadcaster have been deported from Singapore after they were arrested for trespassing at the home of the North Korean ambassador to the city-state, police said on Sunday (10 June 2018)…. The news, just days before a high stakes summit between U.S. and North Korean leaders in the city-state, came as Singapore’s home minister said a man had been denied entry to the country on Saturday because he had searched ‘suicide bombing’ on his phone.” 

See also: 

The Associated Press (AP): “Singapore deports South Korean journalists in trespass case” 


New Naratif: “Singapore’s Flawed Data Privacy Regime” 

“Some have raised concerns about this proposed nationwide digitisation, specifically regarding its impact on Singaporeans’ privacy.[5] Putting information online makes it more vulnerable to being stolen; making it more accessible also means it’s more easily misused. Such centralisation of personal data also triggers worries about surveillance.”



Reuters: “Vietnam lawmakers approve cyber law clamping down on tech firms, dissent” 

“Vietnamese legislators approved a cybersecurity law on Tuesday (12 June 2018) that tightens control of the internet and global tech companies operating in the Communist-led country, raising fears of economic harm and a further crackdown on dissent.” 

See also: 

The Straits Times: “Vietnam Parliament passes cyber law denounced in street protests” 

The ASEAN Post: “Vietnam’s new cybersecurity laws a threat to freedom” 

The Wall Street Journal: “Vietnam Tightens Grip on Internet With Data-Storage Law” 

ucanews.com: “Vietnam cybersecurity law sparks public outcry” 

CNET: “Vietnam’s new law tightens control of the internet” 

Bloomberg: “Vietnam Says ‘Anti-State’ Groups Incited Nationwide Protests” 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF): “RSF calls for repeal of Vietnam’s new cybersecurity law” 

Amnesty International (AI). “Viet Nam: New Cybersecurity law a devastating blow for freedom of expression” 


Radio Free Asia (RFA): “Vietnamese Rights Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai Released, Exiled to Germany” 

“Prominent Vietnamese rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and a fellow member of the Brotherhood for Democracy were released from prison late on Thursday (7 June 2018) and put on a plane from Hanoi to Germany, members of his banned group and an exile pro-democracy group said.” 



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