Merdeka Review faces closure as backers pull out

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The Merdeka Review web site, run by a bunch of young, committed journalists, is facing the threat of closure at the end of this month after five years, and has made a public appeal for financial support. The site needs RM60,000 a month to continue operating.

The site’s backers, a group of veteran businessmen, told the staff a week or so ago that they should look for other means of financial support for the site, failing which the site would be closed.

The backers are believed to be unhappy with recent coverage of China’s treatment of dissident writer Ai Weiwei (right) who disappeared two months ago after being detained by Chinese authorities, and with Merdeka Review’s coverage of events in Tibet.

In an announcement this afternoon, Merdeka Review chief executive Ngeow Yin Ngee said efforts to obtain new sources of financing had failed, and the site would have to cease operations on May 31, two months short of its sixth anniversary.

Merdeka Review began as a Chinese-language news site in 2005 and started a Bahasa Malaysia section two years ago. The site tries to adopt a non-partisan approach to political news, and the young staff are firm believers in upholding the principles of press freedom and democracy, upholding human rights and defending liberty.

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