IFJ Asia Pacific Bulletin: JUNE

IFJ calls for the immediate withdrawal of fugitives transfer bill
The Hong Kong government has tabled a bill to the Legislative Council, to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, which allows the transfer of “fugitives” from Hong Kong to Mainland China on a case by case basis. 
The Hong Kong Journalists Association, together with other 15 media organizations, issued a joint statement to oppose the bill and expressed their concern. The statement pointed out that, the claim from the government is far from reassuring.
Read more here

IFJ welcomes the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo
After more than 500 days in jail, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were released with a presidential pardon on May 7. The two men waved and smiled broadly as they walked out of the jail. Read more here

Journalists attacked, social media blocked as riots break out in Indonesia
On May 22, protesters gathered in central Jakarta near the Election Agency to denounce the presidential election result, which named incumbent Joko Widodo as the winner. The protests quickly turned violent, as protesters clashed with police. Read more here 

Former TV presenter shot dead in AfghanistanMina Mangal, a former television presenter who is now working as parliamentary adviser, was shot in broad daylight Saturday, May 11, morning in Kabul. She reportedly has received threats and fear of her life. Read more here

Nepal government drafts harsh provisions to Media Council Act: According to My Republica, the Bill to Amend and Integrate the Media Council Act was registered by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on May 9, and will have wide ranging implications for the media. Under the proposed provisions, media can be fined up to NPR 1 million (USD 8850) for publishing content in violation of the media code of ethics. Under Section 18, media outlets, publishers, editors and/or journalists can be fined up to NPR 1 million for publishing content found to be tarnishing the dignity or reputation of any individual. Read more here

Bangladesh: Activists arrested under internet and digital security law: According to AFP, the three activists who have been arrested were prominent poet Henry Sawpon, lawyer, indigenous rights activist Imtiaz Mahmood and human rights activist Abdul Kaium. Kaium also edits an online news portal in his hometown northern city of Mymensingh.Sawpon and Mahmood were released on bail Thursday. Kaium remains in detention on charges of extortion and defamation under the Digital Security Act 2018. Read more here

Macau: Proposed ‘fake news’ legislation threat to press freedom: The Macau government’s proposed Civil Protection Law which has been sent to the Legislative Assembly for discussions could have serious implications for press freedom in Macau if legislated. Read more here

Media named in alleged plot to ‘overthrow’ Duterte administration: The Duterte Administration in the Philippines has named several journalists and media organisations as part of an alleged plot to overthrow his government at upcoming mid-term elections. Read more here

Concerns for Chinese journalist arrested in April: Beijing-based citizen journalist Xie Qiang was arrested on April 27 for ‘picking quarrels and stirring up trouble’ and has not been heard from since. Read more here

Pakistan: Court dismissses charges against journalist in cyber-terrorism case: A local court in Karachi has dismissed all charges against Pakistani journalist, Shahzeb Jillani, who had been accused of cyber-terrorism. Read more here

Myanmar government sues media outlet over army reporting: According to the Irrawaddy, U Aung Min Oo, the DMG chief editor has been served with charges under Article 17(2) of the Unlawful Association Act. The charges have been filed by the Home Affairs Ministry’s Special Branch. According to the report, DMG which is based in Rakhine State had published a series of reports following the conflict between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military. The outlet had also reported on human rights abuses in the northern part of the state. Read more here

IFJ affiliate targeted in red-tagging incident in the Philippines: A black banner referring to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and other activist groups as allies of the ‘terrorist NPA’ was found in Cagayan de Oro on Monday, May 27.  Read more here

Myanmar: Journalist arrested covering protest, still detained: A journalist with local television station Channel Mandalay was arrested covering a protest at a cement factory on May 15. He remains in police custody. Read more here






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