IFJ Asia Pacific Bulletin: MARCH

Philippines: Maria Ressa arrested in ongoing government crackdown

On February 13, Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa, was arrested and taken into custody at the Rappler offices in the Philippines. Ressa was arrested on libel charges over a story published in 2012. 
The case has been widely criticised as retaliation by the Duterte government against Rappler's reporting of for exposing violence-inciting fake accounts on Facebook linked to the President. 
See the IFJ statement here, read reports from The ConversationSydney Morning HeraldThe New York Times.

Impunity win in Indonesia

Following campaigning by the Alliance of Independent Journalists, on Indonesia's National Press Day, President Joko Widido revoked his decision to pardon a journalist killer. 
Following the presidential pardon in December 2018, AJI, along with other local organisations and the IFJ campaigned for the decision to be revoked. Read more here

IFJ releases annual report on  journalist killings

The IFJ published its annual report on journalist killings In the Shadow of Violence. The latest report, the 29th edition by the IFJ documents the cases of 95 journalists and media workers in 2018. In the Asia Pacific, 32 journalists and media workers were killed, 29 of those in SouthAsia, making it the deadliest region globally. Afghanistan topped the list as the deadliest country, with 16 killings. Read more here


Two journalists killed in Afghanistan: The offices of Radio Hamsada in Telagan, Afghanistan, on February 6, killing two journalists. Shafiq Areya, and Rahimullah, both in their 20s were killed when a gunman raided the offices. Simin Hussaini, the editor of Hamsada Radio Station, confirmed to the AIJA that they did not receive any threat before the attack. Read more here

The IFJ has had several key safety resources translated into traditional and simplified Chinese. You can now access the IFJ Code of Practice for the Safe Conduct of Journalism (Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese), UN Resolution 2222 (Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese), UN Resolution 1738 (Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese). You can also now access the IFJ Draft UN Resolution on Safety of Journalists (Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese) and the briefing paper (Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese)

NUJP website targeted in online attack: Following similar attacks on other media outlets, the NUJP website was targeted in a DDoS attack. The NUJP website was offline several times on February 8 and 11. Read more here

Pakistani journalist arrested over social media posts: Rizawn Razi was detained and arrested on Saturday, February 9, from his home in Lahore, Pakistan over a series of social media posts. He was arrested by the Cyber Crime Wing of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for allegedly posting defamatory and obnoxious content on social media. According to the arrest warrant FIA found substantial evidence that Twitter account namely @RaziDada was associated with Rizwan Ur Rehman Razi. Read more here

Over 200 jobs cut from Buzzfeed globally: In late January, Buzzfeed announced that it would be cutting 15% of its employees across the USA, UK and Australia. Buzzfeed's offices in Spain and Mexico were also closed. Read more here.

Indian journalists attack by ruling party officials: Suman Pandey and Vinod Dongre were attacked as they covered a meeting of officials from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Raipur, Chhattisgarh on February 2. Following the attack, local journalists staged a protest demanding an investigation and for safer working conditions for journalists in India. Read more here

Myanmar: Journalists attacked following critical mining report: Journalists Moon Moon Pan and Ah Je were detained and assaulted by employees of a mining company in Waingmaw in Kachin in Myanmar on February 26. The two Myitkyina News Journal journalists were detained and forced from the newsroom to the company’s site. They were held for over two hours in separate rooms, allegedly abused and ordered to take down an article about the company. Read more here



MEAA's new campaign: Good Jobs in Digital Media
Like most of the world, the Australian media landscape has been fundamentally shaken up over the past two decades by the digital revolution. Australia’s print media has traditionally had a strong union presence through the MEAA, and its predecessor, the Australian Journalists’ Association. MEAA continues to have high density at News, Fairfax and the ABC, where collective agreements have been negotiated which ensure pay and working conditions are generous.But it is a different story at most digital only outlets, which continue to operate under the pretense of being start-ups even though some have stock market valuations of billions of dollars. The unfairness of this situation has prompted MEAA to launch its Good Jobs in Digital Media campaign. Read more here

Working conditions for foreign journalists in China worsening
The reporting environment for international journalists in China is worsening in virtually every important respect, according to a survey of correspondent members conducted by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China. The 2018 survey constitutes a detailed and depressing document, with 55% of respondents saying they believe conditions have deteriorated, well above the 40% who expressed that sentiment in the FCCC’s 2017 survey. Read more here

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) has launched a petition regarding the public consultations that are currently underway in Hong Kong over possible Access to Information law. HKJA is calling for signatures demanding the government guarantee two key principles in any future legislation as well as several key recommendations. Read more here

IFJ's Australian affiliate - The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) - had a huge win in February inking the first enterprise bargaining agreement with The Conversation, Australia. The agreement was forged after MEAA membership rose swiftly to more than 90% of the workforce, giving workers a strong, unified bargaining position. Key union wins include time-off-in-lieu accruing at double-time for any time work outside of standard working hours; a 2% annual pay increase plus merit budget; transparent base rates and pay scales; one week's study leave a year and parental leave extended to six weeks.

Workers at GMA Network in the Philippines had a win on February 28, with the Court of Appeals upholding an earlier decision to recognise continual contract workers as employees. The case was bought against GMA by the Talent Association of GMA Network in 2014. Read more here

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) has launched a benchmark global survey that will yield unprecedented data on how news organizations are adapting to the digital age. The initiative will dive deeper into how the industry is using technology to combat misinformation, build trust and diversify revenue sources.  The survey is available in 14 languages and only takes 15-20 minutes. Read more here

Thailand has just passed a controversial cyber security law that gives sweeping powers to state cyber agencies. According to Reuters. The Cybersecurity Act, approved unanimously, is the latest in a wave of new laws in Asian countries that assert government control over the internet. Internet freedom activists have called the legislation a “cyber martial law,” as it encompasses all procedures from everyday encounters of slow internet connections to nationwide attacks on critical infrastructure.





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