02/06/2017
 

Asia Pacific Bulletin: JUNE

Oki embraced by supporters outside the Dili courthouse after the case was dismissed on June 1. Credit: Valentino Dariel DE SOUS/AFP

Tagged in:

Asia Pacific, ASIA PACIFIC, Campaigns, Reports, Events, Meeting, Workshop, Conference, Bulletins, Blog

Welcome to the IFJ Asia-Pacific’s monthly e-bulletin. The next bulletin will be sent on July 1, 2017 and contributions from affiliates are most welcome. To contribute, email ifj(at)ifj-asia(dot)org

Please distribute this bulletin widely among colleagues in the media.

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ifjasiapacific 

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific 

Join the IFJ Asia-Pacific mailing list here 

In this bulletin:

1.       VICTORY! Timor journalists defamation charges dismissed

2.       IFJ and SAMSN launch campaign #JournosAgainstShutdowns

3.       Deadly blast kills two and injuries more in Afghanistan

4.       Social media users threatened with legal action in Indonesia

5.       Deadly month sees four journalists killed in South Asia

6.       SEAJU calls for action to defend press freedom on #WPFD2017

7.       #FairGoFairfax: 125 jobs cut in Australia

8.       Journalist ambushed and kidnapped in Myanmar

9.       Thailand: British journalist arrested carry ‘war weapons’

10.   Malaysiakini CEO charged under continuing crackdown

11.   Thai journalist threatened with defamation for reporting

12.   Arrests and attacks on journalists mar local elections in Nepal

13.   Journalists attacked in Kashmir

14.   SAMSN Blog: E-curfews: Killing Hope in Kashmir – Faisal Yaseen

15.   Measuring Pakistani Women’s Experiences of Online Violence – Digital Rights Foundation

16.   SAMSN Blog: Internet: Oxygen for Journalism – Saadullah Akhter

17.   Are you insured? We seek your opinion!

 

 

 

1.       VICTORY! Timor journalists defamation charges dismissed

On June 1, Dili judge Ivan Patricinio Antoninho dismissed all charges against Oki Raimundos and Lourenco Martins at the Dili Court. The two men were preparing to go to jail after prosecutors last week pushed for a one year jail sentence for Oki and a two-year suspended sentence for Lourenco. The verdict came more than 18 months after an article authored by Oki Raimundos was published in the Timor Post pertaining to Rui Maria de Araújo, in his former role as advisor to the country’s finance minister. The investigative article from 2015 looked at a government tender for IT services which wrongly reported the company Mr. Araújo was supporting for the tender. The Post followed up with a right of reply and a correction to the story. However, on January 22, 2016, Mr. Araújo filed a case with the public prosecutor under Article 285 (1) of Timor Leste’s Penal Code accusing Oki and the then-editor of the Timor Post of ‘slanderous denunciation’.

Read more here and here.

2.       IFJ and SAMSN launch campaign #JournosAgainstShutdowns

The IFJ and SAMSN launched a South Asia-wide campaign against internet shutdowns terming them ‘an act against the freedom of expression and press freedom’. The #JournosAgainstShutdowns campaign is launching at a time of increasing shut downs of the internet in the region, especially in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

India is right now experiencing two significant shutdowns. Mobile Internet services in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh were suspended on April 24 amidst violent clashes between two communities; and in Kashmir for the fourth time in 2017 on May 27, immediately after expiration of a month-long restriction on 22 social media and instant messaging sites and apps.

In 2016, South Asia experienced the highest number of internet shutdowns globally with India having the dubious record of being the leading country in internet shutdowns.

Read more here and follow the campaign

3.       Deadly blast kills two and injures more in Afghanistan

TOLO TV’s staff technician Aziz Navin and BBC Kabul’s staff driver Mohammad Nazeer were killed when a powerful bomb was detonated inside a parked vehicle at the Zanbaq Square, near the diplomatic enclave in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on the morning of May 31. At least 80 people were killed and more than 400 were injured in the suicide attack.

Four BBC journalists were injured as their vehicle was hit by the explosion. Radio producer Tajudin Sarosh, reporters Hidayatullah Hamim, Ayub Arwen and Abdullah Nizami were taken to hospital for treatment and are reportedly out of danger. BBC World Service Director Francesca Unsworth in a message said: “Mohammad Nazeer worked as a driver for BBC for more than four years and was a popular colleague. He was in his thirties and he leaves behind a young family.” Three media staffs were injured in nearby TV1 station. Three media staff of TOLO TV and a staff member of Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) were also injured in the blast.

Read more here.

4.       Social media users threatened with legal action in Indonesia

Over the past two weeks, dozens of reports have surfaced of FPI intimidating social media users who publish what FPI deems to be ‘derogatory’ posts about Rizieq Shihab, the FPI grand mufti. On Sunday, May 21, dozens of members of the FPI went to Indrie Sorayya, a businesswoman from Tangerang, Banten’s house, to protest a Facebook post about Rizieq Shihab. In a separate incident, Fiera Lovita, a doctor from Solok in West Sumatra, was harassed by members of FPI. Both women, and many others, have been forced to issue apologies on social media or face legal action.

Read more here.

5.       Deadly month sees four killed in South Asia

On May 15, Shyam Sharma, a journalist working for a local city-based evening newspaper Agniban, was on his way to Manglia Square in his car when he was stopped by two assailants on motorbikes. They asked him to wind down his window, and then slit his throat and fled the scene. A passer-by saw Sharma bleeding heavily and rushed him to hospital. He was moved to another hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

On Wednesday, May 17, two journalists were killed in Pakistan just hours apart. Armed robbers gunned down Abdul Razzaque, a Chunian correspondent of ARY News television in an attempted robbery in Pattoki, Kasur in Punjab. Razzaque was killed when the assailants opened fired on him and Muqadar Hussain after stopping their car. Hussain was taken to hospital but Razzaque died at the scene. 

A few hours later, in Punjab in the city of Lahore, Amir Shakeel, a 35-year old designer at Nawa-i-Waqt daily was shot dead by unidentified gunmen. Two motorcyclists opened the fire on Shakeel and fled the scene. He died on the way to hospital. Police said they suspected an old enmity or personal grudge as the motive behind the killing.

On May 31, Kamlesh Jain, 42, was shot dead by two motorcycle-borne assailants at his office in Pipliya Mandi, 15km from district headquarters Mandsaur. He was shot twice from close range and died on the way to hospital. Jain was reportedly filing stories for Indore-based Hindi daily Nai Dunia, with which he was associated for the last 12 years.  Jain’s family said that local illegal liquor sellers had threatened to kill him after he reported their activities to the police a few days back. According to a report the family claimed that Jain had informed the police about the threat.

Read more here, here and here.

6.       SEAJU calls for action to defend press freedom on #WPFD2017

On May 1, the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen and the IFJ hosted a SEAJU meeting in Jakarta to discuss the state of press freedom, journalist safety, working conditions and future of the media in South East Asia.

On World Press Freedom Day 2017, we the Southeast Asian Journalist Unions (SEAJU), declare:

1.       Threats to freedom of the press and expression in Southeast Asia are getting worse.

2.       The increasing pattern of discrediting media and individual journalists by governments and interest groups seeks to suppress free expression.

3.       Across the region, journalists are coming under increasing attacks – physical or otherwise – threats and harassment, yet the majority of cases of journalist murders remain unsolved.

4.       Restrictive laws and legal frameworks continue impede press freedom with the aim of regulating the media and free speech. 

5.       Harsh working conditions, substandard wages and the non-recognition of media workers’ rights and welfare, including undue pressure from media owners and managements, factors that not only contribute to the lack of safety but can erode professionalism and ethics.

Read more here.

7.       #FairGoFairfax: 125 jobs cut in Australia

On May 3, Fairfax management issued an internal notice to all staff telling them that 125 full-time positions would be cut in an attempt to save the company AUD30 million. According to reports, in the notice to staff, editorial director, Sean Aylmer, said: “We will shortly open a voluntary redundancy program to achieve a reduction in staff of up to 125 [full-time equivalents] which includes the approximate 10 FTEs that have left the newsroom since this process began last month. While we will be looking across all parts of the newsroom, at the end of the redundancy program we expect there will be significantly fewer editorial management, video, presentation and section writer roles.”

Read more here.

8.       Journalist ambushed and kidnapped in Myanmar

On Friday, May 26, Maw Oo Myar, a reporter for the Kantarawaddy Times and broadcaster with the Democratic Voice of Burma was abducted near the town of Loikaw, in Myanmar’s southeastern Kayah State. Myar was on a motorbike with a fellow journalist, when she was pulled off the bike by two men. They verbally assaulted her, before forcing her into a waiting vehicle. Soon after the assailants fled in the vehicle, it was involved in a car accident, which critically injured Myar and she lost consciousness.

According to reports, Myar was taken to the Demawso General Hospital in a critical condition at 5.30pm.  She was later transferred to the Loikaw General Hospital that same night, where she remains under security detail while receiving treatment.

Read more here.

9.       Thailand: British journalist arrested carrying ‘war weapons’

On May 29, Cheng from China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, and fellow journalist Florian Witulski, were transiting through Thailand, to report from the city of Mosul in Iraq. Cheng was detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport after authorities found he was carrying a gas mask and plates for a bullet proof vest. Cheng was detained for violating Thailand’s Arms Control Act, which classifies gas masks and bullet proof vests as ‘war weapons’ and requires a license to carry them. The maximum punishment under the law is five years in jail.

Cheng was held in a cell at the airport overnight. On the afternoon of May 30, Cheng was charged under the Arm’s Control Act. His wife posted 100,000 baht (USD 3,000) bail and he agreed to forfeit his passport. In a statement from his cell at the airport, Cheng said that the plates and gas mask were "for use in Mosul where ISIS is well documented to be using gas."

Read more here.

10.   Malaysiakini CEO charged under continuing crackdown

On May 15 2017, Premesh Chandran, Malaysiakini CEO was charged under section 244(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) at the Kuala Lumpur Cyber Court. The charges were brought against Premesh after Malaysiakini posted footage from a press conference in July 2016, where former political Khairuddin Abud Hassan called for the Attorney General to be sacked, after the Attorney General’s decision to clear Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak of corruption allegations. The post by Malaysiakini was titled ‘Khairuddin: Apandi Ali is not fit to be AG’ and was aired on July 27, 2016.  The charges against Premesh come six months after Malaysiakini Editor-in-chief, Steven Gan, was charged under the same CMA section for the footage. KiniTV Sdn Bhd was also charged for ‘improper use of network facilities or services’ under Section 233(1) (a) of CMA.

Premesh was charged in May as he was on sabbatical leave, residing in the United Kingdom and returned to Malaysia earlier this month to face the charges. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed trial. Both Premesh and Gan are also directors of Kini TV Sdn Bdh.

Read more here.

11.   Thai journalist threatened with defamation for reporting

On March 20, 2017, the mining company, Myanmar Phongpipat Co., Ltd. (MPC) failed charges against Thai journalist, Pratch Rujivanarom and his employer the Nation News Agency under Thailand’s Criminal Code, section 59, 83, 91, 326 and 328 and under the Computer Crimes Act, section 14. The charges all related to defamation for reporting by Pratch on tailings from tin mine, managed by MPC, draining directly into the river system, which is the main source of drinking water of villagers in Myaung Pyo village, Tanintharyi region, Myanmar.

Read more here.

12.   Arrests and attacks on journalists mar local elections in Nepal

Several journalists were arrested and attacked in several incidents across Nepal in the lead up to local elections. Tilak Adhikari, editor of Janata Jindabad weekly, was arrested from his residence in Makwanpur district on May 11 and Thakur Prasad Timalsina and Gambhir Pathak, FNJ members in Kathmandu district, were arrested on May 10. In Parbat district, journalist Gopal GC of Nabadristi Online was arrested on May 4 and Pustaman Gharti was arrested on May 8 in Rolpa district. Hari Bishnu Oli, editor of Sikhchya Sanjal weekly, was arrested on May 2 in Rukum district.

Photojournalist Ajay Desar was attacked by unidentified people on April 24 in Nakhipot, Lalitpur and his camera was damaged. Police is yet to initiate investigation in the case. In Nuwakot district, journalist Dev Chandra Bhatta was harassed by patrolling police for taking photographs.

Similarly, Anjaan Dahal of online portal Filmykhabar was threatened over news by an unidentified person on May 6. The caller expressed dissatisfaction over news written by Dahal and threatened him with action if the news was not removed. In another incident, Shivahari Ghimire of Nagarik daily received a threat on May 6 over news of illegal deforestation. The president of the Saraswati Community Forest Conservation Committee and an official at the District Forest Office in Lalitpur threatened Ghimire over the phone.

Read more here.

13.   Journalists attacked in Kashmir

On May 5, the police ruthlessly beat up journalists while they were covering protests after the Friday prayers in Sopore. The Station House Officer (SHO) of Sopore Mudasir Geelani reportedly led the police attack, in which photojournalists of Varmul Post Eeshan Peer and Mohd Younis of Gulistan were injured.

The IJU said the repeated attacks on journalists covering the on-going volatile situation in the Kashmir Valley were a matter of deep concern.

Read more here and the IJU statement here

14.   SAMSN Blog: E-curfews: Killing Hope in Kashmir – Faisal Yaseen

Faisul Yaseen, political editor of the English daily Rising Kashmir published from Srinagar, provides an insider’s view of how error 404 is crushing journalism in Kashmir. Every now and then Kashmir finds itself in an age when Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey were not even born.

Read more here.

15.   Measuring Pakistani Women’s Experiences of Online Violence – Digital Rights Foundation

Digital Rights Foundation marked the soft-launch of Pakistan's first quantitative research study on online violence titled, Measuring Pakistani Women's Experiences of Online Violence. The research is part of Digital Rights Foundation's ongoing project "Hamara Internet" that aims at raising awareness, training women how to safely use digital spaces, and teaching them how to fight online abuse and tech-related violence.

Read more here.  

16.   SAMSN Blog: Internet: Oxygen for Journalism – Saadullah Akhter

Quetta-based journalist Saadullah Akhter says that internet shutdowns are tantamount to shutting down journalism itself, especially in the remote areas of conflict-prone Balochistan. In the 21st century when the world is virtually a global village and the internet has revolutionized all avenues of our daily lives, no one – especially not journalists – can imagine life without the internet.

Read more here.

17.   Are you insured? We seek your opinion!

Have you ever sought insurance? Are you planning to use ‘insurance for journalists' supported by the IFJ? Take part in the ‘Insurance for Journalists' survey and help them improve and deliver the best insurance services to the community of news professionals the world deserves.
Take the survey here and read more here.

Share

Comment

Please enter valid email address
Please enter valid name
If you don't see one of your comments, that means that it is not moderated yet or it has been rejected.