22/12/2016
 

Asia Pacific Bulletin: JANUARY

IFJ in action in 2016

Tagged in:

Asia Pacific, News, News, ASIA PACIFIC, Campaigns, Reports, Events, Meeting, Workshop, Conference

Welcome to the IFJ Asia-Pacific’s monthly e-bulletin. The next bulletin will be sent on February 1, 2016 and contributions from affiliates are most welcome. To contribute, email ifj@ifj-asia.org

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In this bulletin:

1.       Deadly year continues: Three journalists killed in one week in Asia Pacific

2.       HK Ombudsman rules in favour of union complaint

3.       Sri Lankan Navy Commander assaults journalist

4.       Historic right to information act passed in Vanuatu

5.       Journalist killers sentenced to life in Bangladesh

6.       IFJ blog: Who fixes, who reports?

7.       Bhutan: Facebook post leads to defamation charges

8.       IFJ to launch annual China Press Freedom Report

9.       Who owns the media in Mongolia? RSF

10.   Harassment of Malaysian political cartoonist continues

11.   MSSF: Continues support of Asia Pacific media

12.   Support IFJ/EFJ campaign for Turkey’s media

13.   The IPC gets you where the story takes you

 

1.       Deadly year continues: Three journalists killed in one week in Asia Pacific

Between December 13 and 19, three journalists were brutally killed in the Asia Pacific, bringing to the total number of journalists and media workers killed in 2016 to 28. On December 13, Soe Moe Tun, a crime reporter with Daily Eleven, part of the Eleven Media Group from Myanmar was found by the side of a road in Monywa. The injuries to Soe’s head and face were indicative of murder. Daw Khin Cho Latt, Soe’s wife, said that her husband was murdered for retribution and must have been related to his work. At the time of his death, Soe was working on a story about illegal logging in region. Read more here.

Two days later, on December 15, Mohammad Nasir Mudasir station manager and senior program organiser for Mili Payam or National Message Radio Station and founding member of the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA), was gunned down in southern Kabul. Two men shot and killed Mudasir as he leaving the radio station. He is the thirteenth journalist killed in Afghanistan this year. Read more here.

On December 19, Larry Que, the new publisher of Catadunanes News Now was shot in the head as he was entering his offices, in Virac, Catadunanes, in central Philippines. Que’s murder came after he published his column, which criticised local officials and their alleged negligence in allowing the setting up on the island-province of a recently raided shabu laboratory that authorities claimed was the “biggest” so far discovered in the country. Que is the first journalist killed under the new Duterte administration. Read more here.

Yesterday, the IFJ launched its annual Killed List for 2016, documenting the brutal killing of media workers globally in 2016. Read more here.

2.       HK Ombudsman rules in favour of union complaint

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) issued a complaint to the Hong Kong Ombudsman against the government’s policy towards digital-only media. On December 7, the Ombudsman ruled in favour of HKJA, arguing that the policy was inadequate and vague. The current policy denies digital-only media access to government press events and its information dissemination system. The Ombudsman called upon the government to review its practices and to draw up related guidelines immediately. Read more here

3.       Sri Lankan Navy Commander assaults journalist

On December 10, Sri Lankan Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravi Wijayagunaratne assaulted Roshan Gunasekera, a local correspondent for The Island and Divaina dailies, while the journalist was reporting navy action to open the port blocked by protesting port workers. Video footage recorded by other journalists showed the navy commander darting towards Gunasekera, assaulting him and using foul language. Read more here

4.       Historic right to information act passed in Vanuatu

In a major achievement for Vanuatu’s growing media, on November 24, 2016 the Vanuatu parliament unanimously passed an Act tabled by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai on the Right to Information. The Act will provide for the guarantee of the right to information of all persons in Vanuatu. The MAV described the RTI as “a ‘home-grown’ RTI – a major development and achievement not only for Vanuatu’s growing media industry but for the Vanuatu government also.” Read more here

5.       Journalist killers sentenced to life in Bangladesh

Manik Saha was brutally murdered in 2004, and on December 1 the Khulna Divisional Fast Track Tribunal handed down life sentences for nine co-accused and fined them BDT 10,000 (USD 125) each. The trial against the co-accused began in 2008, however four remain at large, with only five imprisoned. Five additional co-accused were not sentenced, as three were acquitted and two were killed in cross-fire incidents.

The outcome of this trial is a win for press freedom in Bangladesh which has come under increasing attack in recent years.

Read more here.

6.       IFJ blog: Who fixes, who reports?

In this blog, Indian journalist Priyanka Borpujari analyses the power imbalance inherent in terms like ‘fixer’ and ‘foreign correspondent’. She questions the partial application of these terms, arguing it is overwhelmingly the case that only Western journalists achieve the prestigious ‘foreign correspondent’ status, while non-Western journalists remain ‘fixers’ and ‘translators’. Read more here

7.       Bhutan: Facebook post leads to defamation charges

Namgay Zam, a Bhutanese journalist has been accused of libel by a local businessman after she shared a Facebook post about a property dispute including the businessman. Zam and the author of the Facebook post are facing a maximum fine of USD 38,000, which is about 15 times the annual per capita income in Bhutan, and up to three years in jail.

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has called it a landmark case that could shape proposed restrictions on social media usage in Bhutan.

Read more here.

8.       IFJ to launch annual China Press Freedom Report

In January, the IFJ will launch its annual China Press Freedom Report in Hong Kong. The report documents the state of press freedom in China, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as highlighting the challenges for foreign journalists and online media. For the second year the report will document the cases of journalists and media workers currently detained in China.

See more here

9.       Who owns the media in Monglia? RSF

Only one in ten Mongolian media outlets is actively transparent about its ownership, while the majority of outlets have political affiliations through their founders and/or owners. Mongolian journalists also face a number of challenges in undertaking their work, often overworked and underpaid, which can lead to corruption. Read more here.

10.   Harassment of Malaysian political cartoonist continues

Following his arrest in November, political cartoonist Zunar, was once again arrested in Malaysia on December 17. Zunar and two of his assistants were arrested and interrogated for several hours at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters. In addition to the arrests, police have confiscated more than 1,000 copies of Zunar’s books as part of an investigation into potential charges of "undermining parliamentary democracy," which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison under section 124(c) of Malaysia's penal code.

According to Zunar, the recent arrests and confiscation of his publications has cost him USD 10,000.

Read more here

11.   MSSF: Continues support of Asia Pacific media

The Media, Safety & Solidarity Fund (MSSF) which is organized by the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) in Australia has continued its support of the Asia Pacific media in 2016. In the past 12 months, the MSSF has supported over 100 orphaned children with financial support for education costs in Nepal and the Philippines, as well as a student in Fiji. MSSF has also supported the IFJ’s Press Freedom in China project, and the human rights and safety program with the IFJ Asia Pacific.

The MSSF has also supported journalists in Vanuatu and Nepal following devastating natural disasters, supporting training and counseling for journalists.

If you wish to support MSSF and help it continue it’s important work you can donate here and you can read more about MSSF’s work here.   

12.   Support IFJ/EFJ campaign for Turkey’s media

Following the coup in Turkey in July 2016, more than 150 journalists have been arrested and over 2,500 have lost their jobs. The IFJ and EFJ have launched a global campaign demanding all detained journalists to be released.

See more here and sign the petition here.  

13.   The IPC gets you where the story takes you

The IFJ has launched an international campaign to promote the International Press Card (IPC), IFJ’s global press pass. The campaign highlights the importance of the card for journalists across the world, working to support their safety and recognition across the globe.

The IPC is available to all IFJ affiliate members and can give access to EU and UN government officials, as well as assist in important and sometimes dangerous situations.  For more information visit the IFJ website here

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