Authorities ban films, books, television talkshow; threaten Internet users again

February 28, 2007

idontwant.jpgalerts-button.jpgThe Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is concerned over a series of actions by Malaysian authorities against the broadcast and print media and cyberspace, which point to increasing intolerance for free expression and differing viewpoints.

The National Censorship Board recently banned the film “I don’t want to sleep alone” by award-winning filmmaker Tsai Ming Liang, according to a 27 February release by Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ). Read the rest of this entry »


Media invited to cover 314km march for free expression in Cambodia

February 27, 2007

Invitation to the Media

Rights March
Wat Phnom to Angkor Wat
February 28-March 15, 2007
Phnom Penh, February 27th, 2007

The Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia (AFEC) invites the media to report on the “March for Freedom of Expression, Non-Violence, and Political Tolerance in Cambodia” from Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap from February 28th to March 15th, 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

Malaysia bans independent documentary for “distorting history”

February 23, 2007

apakhabar.jpgalerts-button.jpgThe Malaysian government has banned an independent documentary about the lives of former Malay Muslim members of the now defunct Communist Party of Malaya.

In a letter sent to the director, Amir Muhammad, the Malaysian Film Censorship Unit gave seven reasons for its 12 February 2007 decision to ban “Apa Khabar Orang Kampung” (Village People Radio Show). Read the rest of this entry »

Burmese police briefly detain three journalists covering protest; two demonstrators still held

February 23, 2007

alerts-button.jpgBurmese police briefly detained three local journalists who were covering a protest in the former capital city Rangoon at about 3:00 p.m. (local time) on 22 February 2007, reports Mizzima News, a SEAPA partner based in New Delhi.

About 20 demonstrators were protesting outside the Rangoon City Hall over the high inflation rate, sky-rocketing commodities prices, increasing unemployment and corruption when police arrested journalists Myat Thura from Kyodo news agency, Daw Sint Sint Aung from Nippon TV and May Thagyan Hein from “Myanmar Dhana” economic magazine.

Two protesters, Htin Kyaw and Myint Shwe, were also detained, according to Mizzima News.

The journalists were released at 9:30 p.m. from Aung Tha Pyay Special Branch police guest house.

Freedoms of assembly, speech and the press are limited by law and in practice in Burma, which has been ruled by the military since 1962. Demonstrations are illegal and participants would be severely dealt with, especially when they are protesting against the junta. The junta has arrested, detained, convicted and imprisoned citizens for criticising it or for expressing differing views. Security personnel also monitor and harass those suspected to harbour opposition views.

Police investigate newspaper for defaming and maltreating broadcast journalist

February 22, 2007

alerts-button.jpgThe Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia has written to the Kupang municipality police in East Nusa Tenggara province to express concern over an investigation into the “Harian Kursor” newspaper for alleged defamation and maltreatment of a broadcast correspondent.

“Harian Kursor” was alleged to have breached articles 311 and 355 of the Criminal Code in its report on the arrest of Harry Harzufri, the Kupang-based correspondent of private broadcaster Radio Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI), for suspected drug abuse. Harzufri was later released upon evidence to the contrary.

Read the rest of this entry »

Philippine president’s husband sues seven more media members for libel

February 22, 2007

(*In a correction published on 26 February 2007, it was pointed out that the number of journalists sued by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo for libel now totals 46, as publisher Isagani Yambot, editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc and the other four editors are already being sued by Arroyo over a series of columns by Ramon Tulfo in the “Daily Inquirer” in 2006.)

alerts-button.jpgFifty-two* journalists are now facing libel charges from Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, reports the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, a SEAPA founding member based in Manila.

On 20 February 2007, Arroyo sued seven staff members of the “Philippine Daily Inquirer”, including the publisher and several editors, and demanded P11 million (approx. US$220,000) in damages, adding the seven to 45 others he has sued.

Libel is a criminal offence in the Philippines.

The libel suit stemmed from a 2 March 2006 article written by Fe Zamora, “Mike A didn’t go to Marawi? Tell that to the Marines.” The article reported the livid reaction of Marine soldiers in Campo Ranao, Marawi city, Mindanao, to denials by Arroyo’s lawyer that the presidential spouse was there to buy votes and bribe election officials during the 2004 presidential elections. Read the rest of this entry »

Editor shot to death in the Philippines

February 19, 2007

The “Philippine Daily Inquirer” reports of yet another media death – the 50th since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power in 2001.

Hernani Pastolero, 64, editor of the “Lightning Courier” weekly in Cotabato City, Mindanao, was shot dead today by a lone gunman outside his home in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Shariff Kabunsuan.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines says this is the worst media death toll under any administration, including the 14-year Marcos dictatorship.

International media organizations rank the Philippines the second most dangerous place for journalists next to war-torn Iraq.

The culture of impunity in the country continues even as the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston, is there in response to the government’s request to investigate the unabated murders of activists and journalists. Read more.