Archive for category Press

Release all media folk, stop the intimidation

By Seven former media practitioners in DAP
Malaysiakini
Mar 31, 2015

We strongly condemn the recent arrests of four senior editors and the CEO of a media group under the draconian and repressive Sedition Act, in what is a clear and blatant attempt to silence and intimidate the media.

At about 6pm yesterday, three editors of online news portal The Malaysian Insider (TMI) – managing editor Lionel Morais, Bahasa Malaysia editor Amin Shah Iskandar, and features and analysis editor Zulkifli Sulong – were arrested and the TMI office raided under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and the Section 233 of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Act.

This morning, two more senior personnel – chief executive Jahabar Sadiq and CEO of The Edge Group (which owns TMI) Ho Kay Tat – were arrested when they went to the Dang Wangi police station to give their statements to the police.

They were arrested in relation to an article published on March 25, which said the Conference of Rulers had rejected a proposal to amend a federal law that would pave the way for hudud to be enforced in Kelantan. This was later denied by the Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal, who lodged a police report against the article.

As former journalists ourselves, we condemn the actions of the police in their heavy-handed and indiscriminate use of this pre-Independence law – a sign that the government is desperately clutching at straws to assert its iron grip over an increasingly aware and angered citizenry. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crackdown may eventually backfire on BN, say analysts

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
1 April 2015

With more the 150 people arrested or investigated in the last two months mainly over freedom of expression, political analysts say the police crackdown might cripple dissent briefly, but would ultimately backfire on the ruling coalition.

While the arrest and investigations on opposition politicians, activists, academics and media personnel would cow the public for a while and drain the resources of those critical of Putrajaya, such actions would not be effective for long, they told The Malaysian Insider.

“In the short term, it certainly helps the ruling coalition because it has a chilling effect on the public and reduces the ability of the opposition to take advantage of the ongoing internal problems in Umno,” said Ibrahim Suffian, the director of independent pollster Merdeka Center.

“But in the longer run, it will affect public sentiment. These days, you can’t keep a lid on things. It will create problems and affect the legitimacy of the government.” Read the rest of this entry »

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TMI arrests will galvanise journalistic independence, academics and rights groups say

By Zurairi AR
Malay Mail Online
April 1, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Independent journalism in Malaysia will continue to flourish and might even grow bolder due to public demand following the arrests of senior media personnel in The Malaysian Insider (TMI) and The Edge for alleged sedition, academics and rights groups have suggested.

Despite that, they conceded that the immediate effect will largely result in many news outlets toning down their editorial voice, considering there are still many reforms needed to ensure a free and fair media landscape in the country.

“Independent journalism will pause, reflect on what’s happening and why, and, I believe, will resist. You must remember that independent journalism in Malaysia as elsewhere — online and offline — emerged and grew in resistance to controls and coercion,” said Zaharom Nain, a vice-dean with University of Nottingham Malaysia’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“These journalists — and new ones emerge all the time — are often not ‘cari makan’ individuals,” he added, using the Malay phrase that refers to “salary men”.

“They are here for a cause — if nothing else, to tell the truth as they see it. That won’t stop. Stupid, bumbling attempts at silencing them will only make them, however small in number, bolder,” warned Zaharom, who is also the founder of the university’s Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture (CSCC). Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Najib do what a Prime Minister worth his salt would have done already – immediately suspend Khalid as IGP before Khalid could cause more damage to national and international confidence on police professionalism, the rule of law and freedom of the press in Malaysia

Will the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak do what a Prime Minister worth his salt would have done already – immediately suspend Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as Inspector-General of Police before Khalid could cause more damage to national and international confidence on police professionalism, the rule of law and freedom of the press in Malaysia.

It is clear that Khalid has a very pedantic and worse, most selective and elastic, definition of sedition, where even the most innocuous statements made by Pakatan Rakyat leaders, NGO activists and now certain targetted media, are elastically regarded as sedition, while the most seditious speeches and statements like those made by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob, the former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Mashitah Ismail and UMNO Permatang Pauh Division Chairman Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said are arbitrarily interpreted by him as not seditious and therefore not worthy of harsh police action.

The situation is made worse if not hilarious by Khalid’s demonstrated poor command of English where he could find an offence of sedition which no ordinary people would think of, like DAP PJ Utara Tony Pua’s tweet of “Royal my foot” which only Khalid would interpret as an attack on the Malay royalty.

Khalid also twittered an order for police investigation of University of Malaya lecturer Dr. Khoo Ying Hoo for her article “Who owns the police”, miscomprehending it as “criminal defamation” of the police when it was only critical of high-handed police actions.

Then there was the faux pas of the arrest of PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli, humiliating him by making a public spectacle of him in chains and without shoes, in police lock-up purple garb – all because the IGP miscomprehended Rafizi’s circular as a conspiracy to “break out” Anwar Ibrahim from Sungai Buloh prison, which was in nobody’s mind at all!

In other countries, a top police officer or civil servant who had made such three egregious blunders in misjudgment and misconduct would have been hauled up and put on the mat, and would be too ashamed to appear in public at least for a while, but our IGP continues to strut about with neither shame nor remorse? Read the rest of this entry »

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I am not Charlie

By RK Anand | 8:42AM Jan 14, 2015
Malaysiakini

COMMENT In 72 hours, more than a dozen lives were taken and Paris was shrouded in fear.

The catalyst being a satirical weekly that prided itself in the flagellation of all that is considered sacred, not only to Muslims but others as well.

To be honest, I had been unaware of Charlie Hebdo’s existence until two masked gunmen stormed its office and killed its staff during an editorial meeting.

Curious, I browsed the Internet for the caricatures that had spurred the bloodbath. What I discovered left me mortified.

The cartoons were distasteful and disrespectful. I believe that even Voltaire, who is often dragged into the discussion on free speech, would disapprove of them too.

Freedom of expression cannot and should not be used as a premise to defend such publications.

While resorting to protect the sanctity of a faith with bullets instead of debates must be condemned, Charlie Hebdo cannot be placed on a pedestal either.

Liberties must be safeguarded but there must exist a sense of responsibility.
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Najib should intervene immediately to restore publication licence to The Heat before it becomes the tipping point to plunge Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index to the lowest point, even below that of Myanmar

Before the end of the year of 2013 in five days’ time, there is another pledge that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should honour – his pledge to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.

Nobody whether in Malaysia or outside really believe Najib would transform Malaysia into the “best democracy in the world” but the least they expect Najib to do is not to backslide on his specific promise of democratic reforms.

The suspension of the weekly, The Heat, would be one such unacceptable instance of Najib reneging on his specific promise of democratic reforms to unshackle the press from authoritarian restrictions of the Mahathirish past.

In fact, Najib should be moving forward to repeal the Printing Presses and Publications Act altogether to remove the requirement for the licensing of publications.

The Home Ministry has claimed that Najib is not behind the suspension of The Heat and that the suspension is not related to the report in the weekly titled “All eyes on big spending PM Najib” published for the week of November 23-29.
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