Will Malaysia end crimes against journalists?

When will Malaysia begin to protect journalists?

Human rights commission says the police made the press their target.

Human rights commission says the police made the press their target.

More than a dozen journalists were attacked by police in April 2012 while on duty covering the Bersih rally. Most were photographers. The attackers, as reported by the journalists themselves, were mostly young policemen whose name tags had been removed.One of those attacked, Radzi Razak, then of the Sun and now with Malaysiakini, became a poster boy as part of an international campaign for the protection of journalists.

No one in the police force has ever been charged or punished for physically attacking journalists, removing their camera storage cards and in a couple of cases, damaging photographic equipment.

No one in the police or the government has taken responsibility for a shameful act that was criticised by the Human Rights Commission.

This year, journalist Susan Loone of Malaysiakini was arrested by the police under the Sedition Act for merely reporting on what a politician said.

The bully

Apa Lagi Zahid Mahu?

Nothing in what Susan Loone wrote can even remotely be regarded as “seditious”, taking the word to mean rousing the people to rise up and topple authority, or as “hate” speech.

The fact is plainly that that the police preferred to take exception to a politician’s negative remark about the police which was reported.

Since when did making criticism of the police force become a crime?

This year, another journalist, a reporter with the Sun, became the subject of public abuse and insults by the Home Minister, Ahmad Zahidi Hamid, because the reporter had allegedly misquoted the minister.

So a reporter made a mistake. Does that justify a Minister behaving like a thug and hurling public insults and public abuse at a journalist?

MINISTERIAL BULLYING: Ahmad Zahid behaving like a cheap nightclub bouncer

MINISTERIAL BULLYING: Ahmad Zahid behaving like a cheap nightclub bouncer

Ahmad Zahidi has in the past routinely abused Malaysiakini in particular and now has chosen to use his high position to subject a lowly reporter to public abuse — yet at the same time tried to make a big deal about press ethics.Does he even know the meaning of the word? Or of other words, like “honour” and “integrity” and “public service”?

Did the sub-contracted louts of Umno Penang take their cues from the thuggish and bullying behaviour of the home minister when they attacked citizens at Speakers’ Corner recently?

So what standard of ethics and public service allows a Minister to behave like a common lout or a cheap nightclub bouncer? And worse, by the fact that he holds high position, thus encourage the police force (which is under the purview of his ministry), and KDN civil servants who control the media, and Umno division heads to also behave like thugs?

Susan Loone committed no crime in doing her job as a professional journalist. Neither did the Sun reporter.

The crime lies not in what was reported.

The crime is not that a journalist reported a negative remark or made a mistake.

The crime is a government and a police force that believes it is above the law.

The crime lies in a police force that has shown, by its actions, that it prefers to protect politicians of the right colour, religion or party — and protect themselves — rather than protect the common citizen, or the right of journalists to keep the citizen informed.

The crime is a police force and a political establishment that wants the citizen and the journalist to STFU. Shut up! is what Umno says. And “Shut up!” is what the police force says.

That is a crime against the citizen by any measure.

 

from Unesco

When attacks on journalists remain unpunished, a very negative message is sent that reporting the “embarrassing truth” or “unwanted opinions” will get ordinary people in trouble.

Furthermore, society loses confidence in its own judiciary system which is meant to protect everyone from attacks on their rights. Perpetrators of crimes against journalists are thus emboldened when they realize they can attack their targets without ever facing justice.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI).

The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

This short video is joint produced by The Public Liberties and Human Rights department at Aljazeera, in co-operation with several international organizations who promote press freedom to help raise awareness of the danger of impunity.

Will Malaysia ever have the courage to protect journalists?

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No concern about police attacking journos?

The IGP: bully or protector?

The IGP: bully or protector?

Even the police chimed in to offer press photographers sympathy after an NST photographer was punched on Tuesday. The Inspector-General himself urged family members to show restraint — at the prompting of a senior reporter, on behalf of others, who told him even a small comment would do: he did so straight away.

And he urged the media also to show restraint and not press family members for comment.

Wow. But where the hell was this so-sympathetic show of understanding from Bukit Aman in 2012? When the police were ordered to attack the press to prevent coverage of the massive Bersih public rally? Continue reading

Utusan back to whipping up racial fears

The race-baiting begins, a day after talk of "reconciliation"

The race-baiting begins, a day after talk of “reconciliation”

Barely a day after Umno leader Najib Razak spoke of the need for “national reconciliation”, Utusan Malaysia is back to race-baiting, picking up from where Najib had left off, blaming a so-called “Chinese tsunami” for the Barisan Nasional’s poor showing at the election.

As many have pointed out, it was not Chinese voters alone who deserted the Barisan Nasional, it was urban voters in general. The Chinese population is less than 30% of the total population – and even if you consider the DAP to be a Chinese party (ignoring Karpal Singh & Sons, Sakmongkol AK47 Ariff Sabri, and others) the party’s 38 seats in Parliament amount to only 17% of the total number.

Yet Utusan is already whipping up racial fears about the Chinese community trying to topple the Barisan Nasional, and trying to break Umno’s hold on power.

No doubt that falls into the same logic as the DAP trying to turn Malaysia into a Christian nation. The DAP has only 17% share of political power, Christians form only 10% of the population – and the Malay Rulers will need to approve any such important changes to the Constitution.

But trying to talk sense to Utusan Malaysia falls in the same category as throwing pearls before swine.

Continue reading

Police force condemned for bad faith at Bersih

…in fact their actions show that there were deliberate efforts to stop media personnel from doing their jobs
Suhakam report, 17 April 2013
Radzi Razak of The Sun was taken to hospital after being beaten up by several policemen at Jalan Raja Laut

Radzi Razak of The Sun was taken to hospital after being beaten up by several policemen at Jalan Raja Laut. He was one of 14 journalists who reported being assaulted or harrassed by police and prvented from taking photos at the rally.

Suhakam condemns police cover-up of its actions

The human rights commission, Suhakam, has severely criticised Malaysian police for acting in bad faith at the Bersih rally on April 28 last year, including deliberately targeting journalists to prevent them from recording events at the rally.

It also condemned what appeared to be a police cover-up of its actions, by failing to investigate reports lodged against them for brutality, and not taking any action after almost a year.

Suhakam released its report yesterday on its inquiry into the events at the Bersih rally, but its severe condemnation of police actions came through despite the moderate tone and cautious language that the commissioners adopted.

The report is the final action by the commissioners before their term expires in two weeks.

Human rights commissioner Khaw Lake Tee, who led the inquiry into the Bersih rally, releasing the Suhakam report on Wednesday. [Malaysiakini photo]

The commission said:

  • The police force acted in bad faith in handling the rally, violating the spirit of the Peaceful Assembly Act
  • The police took unreasonable and unjustified measures in trying to control the crowd, which included preventing media personnel from carrying out its duties.
  • The police had not assisted or facilitated in the dispersal of participants, who were not given sufficient and reasonable time to disperse in an orderly and safe manner.
  • The police failed to immediately arrest the individuals responsible in breaking the barricade around Merdeka Square, especially because the incident took place within a visible distance for some officers.
  • “Instead, for reasons only best known to them, the police made the decision to disperse the crowd using water cannons and tear gas.”
  • Despite a host of reports lodged against police personnel, the police had not completed investigation nor taken action into any one of these reports after almost a year.
  • Police failed to cooperate with the Suhakam inquiry, failing to send a full list of officers on duty that day and not sending any officer able to respond to allegations of police brutality
  • This was not the first time Suhakam had made recommendations regarding police conduct in handling public assemblies
  • Many of Suhakam’s recommendations had not been implemented by the police.

The commission also made further recommendations for the police, among them:

• make public all the Standard Operating Procedures of the police in handling public assemblies
• review and amend standing procedures and standing orders to better handle public assemblies.
• make a clear distinction between a riot and a peaceful rally
• allow reasonabletime for rally participants to disperse in an orderly fashion
• police at all times to wear permanent name tags or identification body numbers.
• plain-clothed officers not be involved in dispersal or arrests.
• police and media have a briefing before public assemblies.
• complete investigations on reports lodged against acts committed by police personnel.

from Malaysiakini’s report – http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/227111
 

Police targeted media at Bersih – Suhakam

Human rights commission condemns bad faith by police, deliberate actions against media, failure to face inquiry

Wong Kin Onn was one of 14 journalists assaulted by police at Bersih. [Guang Ming photo]

Wong Kin Onn was one of 14 journalists assaulted by police at Bersih. Guang Ming photo

Extracts from Malaysiakini’s report on the Suhakam conclusions

Wong Onn Kin of Guang Ming Daily with a copy of petition to the Malaysian government demanding action for police brutality at Bersih

• The police force had acted in “bad faith” in its handling of the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 last year and took unreasonable and unjustifiable measures to control the crowd.

• Their actions show that there were deliberate efforts to stop media personnel from doing their jobs.

• Despite a host of police reports lodged against police personnel, the police had not completed investigation nor taken action into any one of these reports after almost a year.

• Police did not assist or facilitate the dispersal of Bersih participants, did not give them sufficient and reasonable time to disperse in an orderly and safe manner. Instead the police made the decision to disperse the crowd using water cannon and tear gas without conducting early arrests

• Police failed to send Suhakam a full list of officers on duty that day

• Police did not send any officer [to the Suhakam inquiry] who was able to respond to allegations of police brutality during the rally.

» Police ticked off for poor handling of Bersih 3.0 rally (Malaysiakini)

Police get away with Bersih violence against journos

Guang Ming reporter Wong Kin Onn assaulted while covering Bersih. Guang Ming photo

Guang Ming reporter Wong Kin Onn assaulted while covering Bersih. Guang Ming photo

from Malaysiakini

» Cops acquitted of Bersih 3.0 assault of pixman

Hafiz Yatim
3:52PM Nov 30, 2012

Two police officers charged with assaulting a Guang Ming Daily photographer during the mega Bersih 3.0 rally last April have today been acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates Court, without their defence being called.

Corporal Mohd Khairul Asri Mohd Sobri and Constable Shahrul Niza Abdul Jalil were acquitted after Magistrate Nurulain Abdul Rahim found that prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case when she ruled that photographer Wong Onn Kin (left) and the other witnesses had testified that they could not identify Wong’s attackers.

A total of five prosecution witnesses, including Wong, had been called in to testify.

“Following this, the court acquits both the accused without their defence being called,” Nurulain said.

The two were represented by counsel Salim Bashir and Halim Ashgar, while Deputy Public Prosecutor Kalmizah Salleh represented the prosecution.

During submissions, Salim pointed out that the photographer also gave conflicting testimony with the report he had lodged.

The duo were charged under Section 352 of the Penal Code for using criminal violence against Wong, together with two others still at large, at the junction of Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja between 5.20pm and 5.30pm on April 28.

Khairul, 28, is attached with the Tanjung Malim police station while Shahrul Niza, 25, is stationed at the Dang Wangi police station.

It is learnt that they are the only police personnel charged thus far in relation to widespread allegations of police violence at the pro-electoral reform rally held on April 28.

 

Tweet for Radzi Razak, victim of police violence

Radzi Razak: assaulted while covering Bersih on April 28

Please tweet this and ask others to do so

#EndImpunity in Malaysia. @HishammuddinH2O @PDRMsia Draw up a SOP to protect media like @lexradz at rallies #IDEI bit.ly/T3kqmF

VIP attention for Radzi in hospital, then silence

Radzi Razak, who is with the Sun, was one of 14 reporters and photographers who were assaulted or harassed while covering the Bersih mass rally on April 28. He has been chosen as one of 23 people featured in an international campaign to end impunity of those who carry out violence against those who speak up. The campaign has chosen Nov 23 as International Day to End Impunity — it is the anniversary of the day of the massacre of 58 people, 32 of them Philippine journalists, at Ampatuan in 2009.

No one has been charged for the violence against Radzi and the others. There has been no follow-up of his case. Radzi was visited by the prime minister (who whispered in an undertone, “I’m very sorry”) and by the home minister. Nothing has happened since.

Only two policemen have been taken to court, for assaulting Guang Ming photojournalist Wong Kin Onn.

April 28: Wong Kin Onn at the Bersih rally

Please tweet for Radzi, the Bersih media 14 and all other victims

 

Exposed: Federal Govt is Umno propaganda unit

• Federal Govt booklet outlines campaign against Pakatan
• Umno politician and brother of ex-IGP Musa Hassan in charge
• Info Dept backing for Umno info chief Ahmad Maslan

 
A propaganda booklet produced by the Federal Government, exposed by Malaysiakini on Saturday, provides further evidence of how Umno politicians and civil servants use taxpayer funds and facilities to serve their own personal and party ends.

The official Information Ministry propaganda sheet

Taxpayers funds and federal civil servants produced this Barisan Nasional propaganda sheet under a federal government imprint

Called Panduan Penjelasan Isu Semasa, or a guidebook to current affairs, it was produced by JASA (Jabatan Hal Ehwal Khas) or “Special Affairs Department” — in political terms, that usually means “dirty tricks department”.

JASA kotor – the anti-Bersih campaign

The booklet contains talking points on 44 issues, all of which have been raised by Pakatan Rakyat against Umno, or which the public has raised against the government. These include: Bersih’s demands for election reforms, the death of Teoh Beng Hock while at MACC headquarters, the public listing of Felda, the Internal Security Act, Dong Zong (the Chinese education coalition), Pakatan Rakyat’s Buku Jingga, and other issues.

The Bersih public rally for electoral reforms are attacked in one chapter with a headline that repeats a slogan used by the Information Minister Rais Yatim at the time the rally was held.

Even though the guidebook is an official federal publication, and bears the federation coat-of-arms, it makes no attempt to keep the federal government out of party politics. Continue reading

Sun reporter Radzi tells Suhakam of police attack

Radzi Razak of the Sun has been interviewed by the human rights commission Suhakam about his assault by uniformed policemen while covering the Bersih rally on April 28.

About a dozen reporters and photographers have filed reports concerning assaults on several of them, and harassment and intimidation of others, damage to equipment and confiscation of data storage cards or erasure of images on them.

More than 4,000 people have supported a petition to the government protesting against the violence and demanding an apology, compensation, return of equipment and a full independent inquiry. Continue reading

Bar ding-dong, part 2: ‘Fallacious and mendacious’

  • Loyar Burok lawyers: Roger’s arguments fallacious
  • Roger: You lot are fallacious and mendacious

Sunday Star columnist lawyer Roger Tan has labelled as mendacious an article at Loyar Burok yesterday by eight lawyers who had picked out fallacies in his arguments against a recent Bar Council resolution on the Bersih rally. His concluding retort was to say “their arguments against me are … both fallacious and mendacious”.

The Bar had adopted a resolution condemning the police brutality at the Bersih rally on April 28. Roger, who did not vote for the resolution, explained in his column why he could not support the resolution. Yesterday the Loyar Burok 8 fired off a joint response in which they said police brutality, as an action of the state, was a manifest injustice and that the Bar must always stand for the common man against unjust actions of the state.

In his reply, Roger made these arguments: Continue reading