By Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online
SEPTEMBER 12 — Despite the ongoing government crackdown under the Sedition Act against opposition lawmakers, a student, a law professor and even a journalist, I was generally unconcerned as I figured that the courts would never entertain such ridiculous charges.
Then a student activist named Muhammad Safwan Anang was sentenced last Friday to 10 months’ jail for sedition. His crime? Making a speech about overthrowing the government.
Besides investigating a Malaysiakini journalist for sedition over an article that put the police in a bad light, the authorities are similarly probing a mosque official under the 1948 law for allegedly criticising the police over their actions against the Penang voluntary patrol squad. Read more…
Al Jazeera’s Stream catches the drift
More than 30 journalists are expected to attend a briefing this evening on the Sedition Act and how it affects them in their work, following the recent arrest of Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone in a spate of actions under the act that has involved a law lecturer, a lawyer, two preachers, and several politicians.
Lawyer and columnist Syahredzan Johan will conduct the briefing, to be held at The Star’s Cybertorium theatrette at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya.
Syahredzan heads the National Young Lawyers’ Committee of the Malaysian Bar and is a leading member of the campaign to abolish the Sedition Act.
He is expected to give journalists a broad picture of how the law affects journalists and publishers particularly, as well as its general effects in curtailing the freedom of expression of citizens.
Journalists will seek pointers on how their reporting, writing, editing and publishing duties are affected by the law’s broad definition of “seditious tendency” and how the government loosely interprets the words “to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection”.
The Institute of Journalists Malaysia is a non-profit organisation that seeks to be the professional body of journalists in Malaysia. It was one of several organisations that criticised the arrest of journalist Susan Loone » Drop the charges, says IoJ
Memorandum to Datuk Wira Abdul Rahim Hanafi, Penang Chief Police Officer
Penang Press Club, Pertubuhan Wartawan dan Jurugambar Media Cina Pulau Pinang (Pewaju), Persatuan Wartawan-wartawan Seberang Perai, Penang Press Employees’ Cooperative Society Ltd and the Journalists Union of North Malaya are declaring our solidarity with fellow journalist Susan Loone who was arrested by the Penang police for carrying out her duties and responsibilities assigned to her by her employer Malaysiakini, and urge the police to drop all charges against her immediately.
The action against Susan Loone can only be construed as overzealous and political victimisation.
Any form of political victimisation and demands on reporters to take certain lines in their stories goes against the fundamental role that the public demands of our profession…
Journalists play a critical public interest role and to criminalise the work we do is unacceptable.
Memo from Journalists
of northern Malaysia
We invite every believer in free journalism to show their solidarity and support members of the Press, especially Susan Loone, and urge the Penang police to provide a safe environment for journalists and photographers to carry out its responsibilities without fear or favour.
The use of the Sedition Act against Susan Loone for a phone interview conducted with Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh can only be construed as overzealous and political victimisation. Any form of political victimisation and demands on reporters to take certain lines in their stories goes against the fundamental role that the public demands of our profession.
This is the second time in recent years that our fellow reporter has been victimised for straightforward reporting.In 2008, Penang-based Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng was arrested under the draconian Internal Security Act for simply reporting remarks made by a politician. Read more…
Badan Wartawan Malaysia – Institute of Journalists Malaysia
5hb September 2014
Badan Wartawan Malaysia (Institute of Journalists Malaysia), sebuah badan profesional wartawan di Malaysia, menyuarakan kebimbangan serius susulan penahanan penolong pengarang Malaysiakini Susan Loone dibawah Akta Hasutan 1948 berkaitan sebuah laporan berita yang ditulis dalam menjalankan tugas sebagai wartawan.
IoJ percaya bahawa adalah merupakan hak semua wartawan…
• bertugas secara profesional tanpa gangguan dan tekanan dari pihak berkuasa atau mana-mana pihak ketiga
• melaporkan semua berita serta untuk mengetengahkan pelbagai spektrum pendapat.
• kerajaan harus memenuhi janji untuk melindungi hak wartawan dalam menjalankan tugas, terutama dari sebarang bentuk gangguan atas dasar politik, perkauman atau agama
Badan Wartawan Malaysia – Institute of Journalists Malaysia
Kami percaya penahanan tersebut adalah tidak berasas dan laporan yang ditulis juga tidak dalam apa-apa bentuk berunsur hasutan, berdasarkan pengertian lazim “merendahkan pihak berkuasa”
Berdasarkan maklumat berkaitan, ahli majlis kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang telah ditemuramah oleh Susan Loone melalui panggilan telefon semasa beliau berada didalam tahanan polis dan kemudian dilaporkan oleh Malaysiakini.
Kesahihan laporan tersebut tidak pernah dipertikaikan oleh pihak polis atau Phee, sementara ketua pengarang Malaysiakini Steven Gan telah menegaskan bahawa portal berita itu mempertahankan laporan mereka.
IoJ percaya bahawa adalah merupakan hak semua wartawan untuk dibenarkan menjalankan tugas mereka secara profesional tanpa gangguan dan tekanan dari pihak berkuasa atau mana-mana pihak ketiga, samaada bermotifkan politik atau untuk sebab-sebab lain.
IoJ percaya bahawa adalah merupakan hak semua wartawan di Malaysia untuk melaporkan semua berita untuk kepentingan umum secara seimbang, tepat dan tidak berpihak, serta untuk mengetengahkan pelbagai spektrum pendapat.
Kami berpegang dengan pendapat bahawa tindakan pihak polis keatas Susan Loone dan Malaysiakini adalah merupakan satu bentuk penghinaan kepada penerimaan prinsip kebebasan media dan kebebasan bersuara di Malaysia.
Kami menyeru pihak kerajaan, Kementerian Dalam Negeri, Ketua Polis Negara dan Ketua Polis Pulau Pinang supaya menghentikan tindakan dibawah Akta Hasutan keatas Susan Loone dan Malaysiakini secara khususnya serta keatas rakyat Malaysia secara umumnya, termasuk menggugurkan semua proses dakwaan yang sedang berjalan.
Kami menggesa kerajaan Malaysia untuk memenuhi janji memansuhkan Akta Hasutan sebagai langkah untuk mengukuhkan kebebasan bersuara dan seiring dengan itu menghentikan semua tindakan dibawah Akta ini.
Kami turut menggesa pihak kerajaan supaya memansuhkan Akta Penerbitan dan Mesin Cetak 1984 bagi melindungi dan menjamin kebebasan media serta kebebasan bersuara.
Selain itu, kerajaan juga bukan sahaja harus memenuhi janji untuk melindungi hak wartawan dalam menjalankan tugas, terutama dari sebarang bentuk gangguan atas dasar politik, perkauman atau agama.
Ahli Badan Wartawan Malaysia; Pengamal media Malaysia; Penyokong kebebasan media dan kebebasan bersuara
Statement by the Institute of Journalists Malaysia – Badan Wartawan Malaysia
• We believe it is within the right of all journalists to carry out their duties without hindrance for political or other reasons, and without external pressures.
• We believe it is the right of all journalists to report fairly, accurately and impartially on all events of public interest, and to hold and express all shades of opinion.
• We urge the Government to carry out its pledges to safeguard and protect journalists, especially from harrassment on political, racial or religious grounds
Institute of Journalists Malaysia — Badan
The Institute of Journalists Malaysia, the professional body of journalists in Malaysia, expresses its serious concern over the arrest of Malaysiakini’s assistant editor Susan Loone under the Sedition Act in connection with a report she had written in the course of her professional duties.
We believe the arrest is unwarranted and that the report does not in any way amount to seditious material within the ordinary meaning of the words “to undermine authority”.
The facts available show that Susan Loone interviewed Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh by telephone while he was in custody and filed her report. The accuracy of this report has not been denied either by the police or by Mr Phee, and Malaysiakini’s editor, Steven Gan, has stated that Malaysiakini stands by its story.
We believe it is within the right of all journalists to be allowed to carry out their duties professionally without hindrance by the authorities for political or other reasons, and without being subject to external pressures in the course of their duties.
We believe it is the right of all journalists to report fairly, accurately and impartially on all events of public interest.
We believe it is the right of all journalists and of all citizens to hold and express all shades of opinion.
We hold that the police action against Susan Loone and Malaysiakini is contrary to Malaysia’s acceptance of the principles of freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
We call on the Government, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Inspector-General of Police and the Chief Police Officer of Penang to halt all action against Susan Loone and Malaysiakini under the Sedition Act and for all charges already preferred or impending to be dropped.
We urge the Government of Malaysia to carry out its pledge to repeal the Sedition Act as part of its measures to enhance freedom of expression, and in view of this pledge to halt current use of the Act.
We urge the Government of Malaysia to uphold its pledge to repeal the Printing Presses and Publications Act to protect and enhance freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
We urge the Government of Malaysia to carry out its pledges to safeguard and protect journalists in the performance of their professional duties, especially from harrassment on political, racial or religious grounds.
September 5, 2014
Institute of Journalists Malaysia – Badan Wartawan Malaysia
supported by: members of the Institute of Journalists Malaysia; fellow journalists in Malaysia; friends and supporters of freedom of the press and freedom of expression
Statement by National Union of Journalists Malaysia
The National Union of Journalists Peninsular Malaysia (NUJ) strongly condemns the inquiry by the police to investigate Malaysiakini reporter Susan Loone under Section 4 (1)(C) of the Sedition Act 1948.
Susan was merely doing her job as a reporter when she was arrested after being questioned over her phone interview with an exco of the Penang State Government, in which he was quoted as saying that he had been “treated like a criminal” while in detention. Her article was published on the news portal on September 1, allegedly defaming the police.
This action does not augur well for the Government’s promise to allow the Malaysian media to operate freely and without fear of their reporters being detained under questionable reasoning.
Even though the Police has the right to question anyone through complaints made by certain NGOs, we however strongly feel that the Sedition Act had been wrongly applied on Susan’s case and that the Police should issue an apology to her for the trauma and inconveniences caused on her and her family.
To abuse relevant Act by intimidating the media had never been accepted by the local media nor been supported by the general public. Read more…