01/09/2017
 

Asia Pacific Bulletin: SEPTEMBER

Staff at the Cambodia Daily launch campaign to save the media outlet. Credit: Supplied

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 October 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.       IFJ & SEAJU demand end to crackdown on press freedom in Cambodia

2.       Journalists attacked as riots break out in India

3.       Media crackdown across China: Intimidation, arrests & regulations

4.       Filipino journalist slapped with libel suit

5.       Dissident criminalized again in Thailand

6.       Two Filipino journalists murdered under Duterte’s martial law

7.       Journalist brutally attacked in Odisha, India

8.       Minister blocks journalists’ work Sri Lanka

9.       Virulent trolling of Indian editor after Tweet

10.   Corruption report sees Nepali journalist threatened

11.   SAMSN Blog: Dhanya Rajendran Counters Online Abuse

12.   Digital Campaign Workshop in Afghanistan

 

1.       IFJ & SEAJU demand end to crackdown on press freedom in Cambodia

On August 5, 2017 a letter addressed to the Cambodia Daily appeared on the Facebook page of the government-affiliated Fresh News, claiming that the Daily owed the government USD 6.3 million in taxes and gave the Daily until September 4 to accept or dispute the bill.

On August 25, Voice of Democracy (VOD) which is run by the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media (CCIM) was taken off the airwaves after its partner radio stations had stopped broadcasting its shows without reason.

On August 22 and 23 VOD broadcasts in Phnom Penh were blocked, while broadcasts in Siem Reap, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces were blocked on August 24. In the following days, a further 19 radio stations were cut off, with the government claiming that they had violated  their contracts with the government by overselling programming to outlets like the Voice of Democracy (VOD) as well as U.S.-funded Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Critics of the latest moves by the government have said that it is part of the government’s plan to win the next elections. Cambodia will hold its general elections in July 2018.

Read more here.

2.       Journalists attacked as riots break out in India

On August 25, after the self-styled ‘godman’ Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was found guilty by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court, on charges of rape and sexual assault of two female devotees in 2002, his followers ran amok and attacked media vehicles and journalists in Haryana and Punjab. In the violence following the verdict, about 38 Indian citizens have lost their lives and scores of others injured.

At least four outdoor broadcasting (OB) vans of media houses – NDTV, Republic TV, India Today and E24 – were toppled, damaged and burnt near the court premises in Panchkula, Haryana. Apart from this, at least 38 media personnel have registered a complaint with police regarding loss of equipment and vehicles. Reporter Rakesh Kumar and video journalist Shipendar Happy from PTC News were attacked and robbed in Sirsa, near Dera Sacha Sauda, the headquarters of Ram Rahim Singh.

Read more here

3.       Media crackdown across China: Intimidation, arrests & regulations

In August, the China Quarterly, a Cambridge University Press (CUP) publication, revealed that it had been facing continuous pressure from the Chinese authorities. The editors were forced to block access to 315 articles dating from the contemporary back to the 1960s. On August 20, the CUP decided to repost all the deleted articles on their official websites. On August 23, editors of the Journal of Asian Studies, another prestigious publication, confirmed in the media that Chinese authorities had forced them to delete around 100 articles, and LexisNexis, a provider of legal regulatory and business information, confirmed that its subsidiary company in Mainland China, LexisNexis Business Insight Solutions, had received a notice from the Chinese authorities demanding that Nexis and LexisNexis Academic be removed from their list of products by the coming March.

Nathan VanderKlippe, the Beijing correspondent for Globe and Mail was detained for three hours by authorities in Xinjiang after he tried to interview people from Elishku, a Uighur-majority community, on August 23. He was released after three hours, during which his computer, bag and camera were also confiscated and searched.

On August 25, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released new regulations for comment sections of media outlets. According to the new CAC guidelines, people are not prevented from expressing their opinions in the comment sections of news articles and reports. In addition, all users must use their full name before they register to post comments and internet providers must now monitor and vet all posts before they go online. Any comments or opinions that refer to the unification of China, disseminate rumors and false information, or refer to ending Socialism must be immediately deleted.

On August 26, following Typhoon Hato, four Hong Kong-based journalists were denied entry to Macau. In four separate incidents the media workers were told by immigration officials they couldn’t enter as they ‘might have posed a threat to internal security’.

On August 29, two Macau siblings, 73 and 68, were arrested by the Macau Judiciary Police for spreading unverified information through WeChat, a Chinese-based communication platform. The police alleged that the pair had disseminated unverified information about the Macau Government blocking a carpark, in which five people were died. No media had reported on the incident, but police alleged that the pair sent the message to at least six WeChat groups and 30 individuals.

Read more here,  here, here, here and here.

4.       Filipino journalist slapped with libel suit

Ted Failon was indicted following the airing of an episode of ABS-CBN show ’Failon Ngayon’. ABS-CBN reports that former Metropolitan Manila Development Activity (MMDA) Chairman Francisco Tolentino filed a libel case against Failon and three other staff members of the current affairs program. The NUJP said the episode looked into the “allegedly irregular purchase by the MMMDA under Tolentino of secondhand motorcycles for Pope Francis’ visit to Manila in 2014, which the Commission on Audit had questioned”.

The NUJP details that on August 22, Failon and his three colleagues posted bail after they were arrested by a Tagaytay City court for the case filed by then MMDA chairman and now presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino.

Read more here.

5.       Dissident criminalized again in Thailand

Pravit Rojanaphruk, a prominent reporter and columnist at the news website Khaosod English (Fresh news) was officially informed on August 8 by the Royal Thai Police's Technology Crime Suppression Division that he faces charges of sedition, under article 116 of Thailand's Criminal Code, and “disseminating false information online”, under the Computer Crimes Act.

Pravit, a vocal critic of the military regime that came to power in Thailand in 2014 after a coup that overthrew an elected government, has been targeted for his critical writings and campaigns for press freedom. From physical intimidation, illegal detention and travel sanctions to threats to freeze his bank accounts, there have been several attempts to intimidate and silence the journalist. The first charges of sedition against Pravit were filed following his Facebook posts in February 2015 criticising the Constitution drafted by the military. Sedition charges were again slapped following his critical social media posts about the trial of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government was toppled by the military coup.

Read more here.

6.       Two Filipino journalists murdered under Duterte’s martial law

On Sunday, August 6, Rudy Alicaway, a radio anchor with Tigmo-Tigmo program on DXPB 106.9, was shot dead by two assailants on a motorcycle on his way home. According to a police report, the assailant continued to shoot Alicaway as he tried to crawl away.

In a separate incident, on Monday, August 7, Leo Diaz, a columnist for Sapol Newspaper and a report for Radio Mindanao Network was shot leaving his house in Sultan Kudarat province. He died from multiple gunshots.

Both journalists were killed in Mindanao, which has been under martial law since May 23, 2017. Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law across the whole of Mindanao following violent clashes between locals and alleged IS-supporters in Marawi City.

Read more here.

7.       Journalist brutally attacked in Odisha, India

Ramesh Rath, a Balipatna based journalist working for Pragativadi, an Odia-language daily was attacked by two bike-borne miscreants with a sharp weapon in the late evening of August 7. Rath sustained a deep cut on his back and is currently undergoing treatment at the Capital Hospital in state capital Bhubaneswar.

The journalist told Odisha TV: “I was sitting in front of my house when the two bike-borne youth came. Seeing them coming towards me, I asked them if anything was wrong but the person sitting on the back seat suddenly attacked me with a sharp weapon. I could not identify them due to bad light.” The attackers fled the scene immediately. The police are investigating the case and the reason behind the attack is yet to be ascertained.

Read more here.

8.       Minister blocks journalists’ work in Sri Lanka

Palani Digambaram, Minister of Infrastructure and Community Development allegedly ordered the microphone of Sirasa Media correspondent Indika Roshan Kauarachchi to be removed from the podium where he was speaking in Hatton, Central Sri Lanka on Sunday, July 30. Kauarachchi was reporting the event at the invitation of the Government Information Department. Footage from television recordings show evidence that the Sirasa microphone had been removed from the podium.

Since the incident, supporters of the Minister have continued to threaten Indika.

Read more here.

9.       Virulent trolling of Indian editor after Tweet

Dhanya Rajendran, a senior journalist and editor-in-chief of digital news platform The News Minute, was mentioned more than 30,000 times in Twitter abusing her for her tweet about a newly released movie. It all began on August 4 after she tweeted: “I had watched Vijay’s ‘Sura’ till interval and walked out. #WhenHarryMet Sejal has made me break that record. Could not sit till interval.”

Fans of actor Vijay, who starred in ‘Sura’, released about six years ago, trolled Rajendran, wrote abusive tweets and created a #PublicityBeepDhanya hashtag that at one point was trending in India before Twitter India banned following Rajendran’s complaint.

Read more here.

10.   Corruption report sees Nepali journalist threatened

Gopal Khadka, the Managing Director of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), threatened journalist Dilip Paudel of Nagarik daily in the premises of the Ministry of Supplies, where Paudel was on a reporting assignment, on August 4. Khadka told Paudel: “You have a family, be careful.”

Paudel had first reported misappropriation of funds by Khadka while buying land for NOC. The Parliamentary Public Audit Committee had ordered an inquiry into the matter, concluding the proper procedures were not followed while buying the land.

Read more here.

11.   SAMSN Blog: Dhanya Rajendran Counters Online Abuse

A robust response to online violence against a woman editor prompts a well-known actor to urge his fans to stop the abuse, and one of the abusers to post an apology on Twitter.

Read more here.

12.   Digital Campaign Workshop in Afghanistan

The IFJ and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association, supported by IFEX and NMFA, hosted a two-day digital campaign workshop in Kabul Afghanistan on August 17-18. The workshop was park the IFJ Digital Issues grant from IFEX and will feed into a national campaign run by AIJA.

See photos 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.