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Number 1 Shimbun

“Freedom of the Press” News: a regional round-up

Hong Kong

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, its Board of Directors and its Freedom of the Press Committee are alarmed by reports of attempts by current and former Hong Kong government officials and by the Chinese government to pressure the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club into limiting debate at FCC events.

Freedom of expression is guaranteed for decades to come under the term of the handover. We are especially concerned that, beyond persuasion, the government is employing economic pressure, threatening to cancel the FCC’s market-rate lease on the building it occupies. We call upon the governments and former officials involved to cease and desist.

– from an FCCJ Freedom of the Press committee statement, Aug. 13, 2018

Jailed Reuters journalist Wa Lone wasn’t there to see his wife, Panei Mon, give birth to their first child, a daughter, Thet Htar Angel. Wa Lone and other Reuters journalist, Kyaw Soe Oo, have been detained for eight months on baseless charges after reporting a massacre of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar military. It was a bittersweet day for Pan Eimon, who has attended every court hearing possible. “I’ve wished Wa Lone could be free since before I knew I was pregnant, and now I want him to be free even more. I want to welcome the baby with him, I want him to see the baby,” she said.

– from wire service reports, Friday, August 11, 2018

Attorney Jo Clemente, chair of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and a journalist of 30 years, says that 11 media practitioners have been killed since July 2016. While the Philippines has always been dangerous for journalists – at least 34 died in the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre – Clemente says the broader media environment is as challenging today as it’s been since the martial law period under the authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos. “The entire scenario, the hatred of journalists, the hatred of lawyers, the hatred of everybody that goes against Duterte and whatever he wants to do, that jeopardizes the democratic space we live in.”

– Time magazine, June 22, 2018

Professor Sun Wenguang, 84, was arrested at his home in Jinan City, Shandong province, on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, in the middle of a live telephone interview with Voice of America (VOA) Mandarin. The news channel is popular with the Chinese community abroad. Even though it is censored in China, VOA’s YouTube account has nearly 700,000 subscribers, more than triple the subscribers of the English channel.

Retired from Shandong University, where he taught physics and economics until 1994, Sun is known for his assertive public interventions against censorship and propaganda.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is demand- ing his immediate release and stresses that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are explicitly written in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

– from an RSF press release, Aug. 4, 2018

Tuoi Tre Online, a popular publication in Vietnam, was suspended by Hanoi on July 16 after having published “untrue” and “nationally divisive” content. The newspaper, founded in 1975 by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, Tuoi Tre (“Youth”), is being reprimanded for a June 19 article, “Vietnamese president agrees on issuing demonstration law,” that quotes President Tran Dai Quang as saying that he agreed that there is a need for a law regulating public demonstrations.
Tuoi Tre Online has been ordered to correct its content, issue a public apology, pay a fine of $9,800 and suspend publication for three months, according to Luu Dinh Phuc, director general of the Press Authority under the Ministry of Information and Communication.

– Gary Sands, Asia Times, July 20


Published in: September 2018

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