Stop ‘rampage’ against Al Jazeera, urges media watchdog
August 5, 2020
MEDIA watchdog, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), today called on the government to drop its investigations into broadcaster Al Jazeera over its documentary Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown.
The authorities must all stop their “acts of intimidation and adverse actions” against other media organisations that carried the documentary, such as Astro and UnifiTV, which police also raided yesterday.
Its executive director, Wathshlah G. Naidu, said in a statement the government should instead probe into Al Jazeera’s allegations instead of the journalists.
“The state is clearly on a rampage against Al Jazeera.
“The government has yet to debunk Al Jazeera’s claims with verifiable facts and evidence to demonstrate that fundamental human rights of migrants have not been undermined,” CIJ said.
“Putrajaya should act to promote media freedom and create an enabling environment for the media to function with independence and with no fear of repercussion for carrying out their reporting functions.”
It also expressed concern over recent action against other journalists and media organisations, such as Malaysiakini, Boo Su-Lyn of CodeBlue and Tashny Sukamaran of The South China Morning Post.
“The actions against them are indicative of a deliberate and concerted effort by the state at silencing voices and reporting that are critical or dissenting and has the potential to paint an adverse picture of the government’s actions,” CIJ said.
CIJ also urged Putrajaya to place a moratorium on the use of repressive laws that Malaysia has committed to amend, such as Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Sedition Act 1948, Official Secrets Act 1972 and National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Act 1981.
Putrajaya should also move ahead with the establishment of the Malaysian Media Council as a transparent and independent self-regulatory body for the industry.