Weekly Wrap Up: Media ban imposed by Malaysian Speaker of Parliament

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Objections have been raised towards a media ban imposed by the Malaysian Speaker of Parliament. The ban prevents members of the media from interacting with MP’s within the lobby of the Parliament. The ruling which is to be implemented immediately was made citing safety as the top priority. The National Union of Journalist (NUJ) Malaysia has opposed this ban noting that this severely restricts the ability of journalists to carry out responsible reporting. 

Questions were also raised by media freedom groups in Malaysia on why the proposal came from the aides of the Prime Minister and his deputy. It was reported that such an action would call into question the separation of powers between the parliament and the executive, casting a gloomy shadow on democratic values within the country. A compromised proposal to introduce a media liaison officer was also rejected, claiming that such a role would only serve to further inhibit press freedom. 

Read the full story on The Independent, The Malay Mail Online, and Malaysiakini.

Two French journalists, who were filming a documentary for Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines, were detained and subsequently deported from Papua for lacking “necessary documents”. Indonesian authorities barred the two journalists from entering Indonesia for six months as they entered the country on a tourist visa and were reporting without permit. 

Read the full story on Human Rights Watch and Asia Pacific Report.

According to South East Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Timor Leste’s resource-poor media have struggled to provide a fair media coverage of the presidential elections held last Monday (March 20) and the upcoming parliamentary elections in July. Local media organisations have been worried about not being able to provide a balanced coverage due to a dwindling number of staffers. Additionally, journalists within the region are poorly paid and not well-equipped to provide unbiased reporting for the people.

The Philippines’ Tourism Secretary, Wanda Teo has asked the media to “tone down” their coverage of the current administration’s war on drugs. She has also addressed the same plea to the Vice President following his video message to the UN denouncing the alleged execution of 8,000 Filipinos. Ms Teo also noted that there are still lare numbers of tourists visiting Philippines, especially from China, Europe and Asia. 

More details of the story can be found at our partner Asia News Network (ANN).

Vietnam has detained  two bloggers for posting anti-state related comments. Both bloggers were detained for investigation of propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, according to the Government on its Facebook page. The Government also noted that both bloggers had collaborated with Viet Tan, or Vietnam Reform Party, which Hanoi has declared as a terrorist group.

The article can be read at Reuters.