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Under fire, NSTP shifts blame to online media

Quick, quick, find a scapegoat! Blame someone!

So Puad names ‘usual suspects’ Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insider, Free Malaysia Today

[RockyBru photo]

[RockyBru photo]

After being blamed for highlighting recent criticism of Daim Zainuddin in the Mahathir-Najib proxy war, the bosses at Media Prima and New Straits Times Press have now brought out Umno’s usual tool — shift the blame and find another scapegoat.

Once again, online media is being made the punching bag, but this time, Free Malaysia Today is being added to the usual suspects Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider.

What about Malay Mail Online?

No mention of Malay Mail Online? Like the others, it also doesn’t shy away from political coverage of all quarters. Why leave them out? There’s one diference: the other three “suspects” are not in Umno’s money web of interests. They are independently-owned: Mkini by its founders and backers; Insider by the Edge group of Tong Kooi Ong, and FMT linked to businesman John Soh. Continue reading

Bully boy Zahid uses KDN to threaten journos again

Is it the Ministry of Home Affairs or the ministry for protection of loudmouthed political bullies?

Is it the Ministry of Home Affairs of all Malaysians or the ministry for protection of loudmouthed political bullies?

• Zahid twists facts, claims attacks on him are attacks on KDN
• Then accuses journalists of “spinning” to suit political interests

Facing intense political pressure over a letter that he wrote under the KDN letterhead to an alleged gambling kingpin, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has now tried to use Home Ministry staff against journalists in order to save his arse.

At a monthly staff assembly, he claimed that “the home ministry is under attack. Yes we are.”

This is despite the fact that no one in the past weeks has criticised the ministry itself or its civil servents, only Ahmad Zahid and the letter that Zahid wrote, using his ministerial position, to vouch for Paul Phua, who is on trial in the United States for running an illegal World Cup gambling ring.

Zahid, however, tried to turn the criticism as if they were attacks on the ministry.

When we execute our duties not everyone will be pleased. We cannot please everyone. All they do is scrutinise us. There are many good things that we have done but they never report it. But when there are a few bad things, they focus only on that. This culture of spinning has become something of a norm. — Malay Mail Online

The minister conveniently twisted the fact that he is the one being criticised, for writing on KDN letterhead, for committing the Malaysian Government into an endorsement of Paul Phua: the FBI, relying on a report from Malaysian police, says he is part of the Hong Kong-based 14K Triad. Continue reading

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?

Futile or not, stand up for freedom

Why lighting a candle is better than sitting in the dark

Khairie Hisyam Aliman
Malay Mail Online

From » Sedition Act: Speak Up

IoJ petition to the Govt of Malaysia

Sometimes we cannot not act, even if in futility. Because taking action in itself is an impact, even without visible effects.

These were the thoughts in my head when, this week, someone forwarded me a petition form by the Institute of Journalists Malaysia.

The petition, addressed to the prime minister, home minister and the Attorney-General, expresses support for the journalist body’s previous call for the repeal of the Sedition Act, for non-interference in legal journalistic work and for cessation of any and all action against journalist Susan Loone.

To recap, Susan was arrested earlier this month for writing a straight news report based on a telephone interview with a Penang state lawmaker. She was detained and questioned for hours for doing something that is a normal daily activity for any other reporter anywhere.

It brought to mind a brief chat with a lawyer last week about participating in the Malaysian Bar’s Walk for Justice, the effectiveness of which I admittedly also wondered about, though I didn’t voice this.

The lawyer’s reason for walking: objection against the government’s selective use of the Sedition Act and a desire to express displeasure at the selective usage, even if that gets ignored anyway.

It came down to making a statement. Showing intent. Expressing unhappiness. With or without effect, isn’t that important too?

Coming back to IoJ’s petition, I have no pretensions that my one insignificant name matters. But it’s important as a community, as a group to do what little we can individually. In some cases it simply means speaking up, even if our individual voices get drowned out.

Statement by IoJ on Sept 5

The alternative is keeping silent and not saying anything. But then no one would know we disapprove if we keep that feeling hidden behind walls. Worse, our silence may be mistaken for endorsement.

In whatever purpose we pursue, I believe that if we all lend our small voices to the collective, together we can have a better chance of being heard.

Do I share the principles and stance expressed by the IoJ in its statement? (Read it here.) Yes. Do I believe my fellow journalists and I have a right to work unhindered? Yes.

Do I think this petition will reform the nation overnight? No. Can the journalist collective push for the repeal of the Sedition Act on its own? No.

Am I signing anyway? Yes. Pursuing some things are simply a matter of principle.

If you’re unhappy about the Sedition Act too, it’s time to speak up. You could be Malaysia’s tipping point.

» Sedition Act: Speak Up

Sedition briefing for journos today

Our leaders must stop believing that if they are insulted, the whole country will crack. That’s a sign of arrogance too. Why do we pay so much attention to such individual insults that the government needs to act so drastically? Nobody is going to be scared
ZAID IBRAHIM


Dragnet

Some of those affected

• Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone – interview with state executive councillor
• Law lecturer Azmi Sharom – remarks in press interview on Perak crisis 2008
• Lawyer-activist Edmund Bon – investigated, remarks on fatwa and non-Muslims
• Sabah politician David Orok – remarks on Facebook on Prophet Muhammad and Islam
• Abu Bakar Baikalani Abu Hassan, a preacher – remarks about arrests of PPS (Penang volunteer patrol)
• Wan Ji Wan Husin, a preacher – remarks about PPS

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.

Institute of Journalists MalaysiaThe briefing is organised by the Institute of Journalists Malaysia with the cooperation of The Star.

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

» More on 2014 sedition dragnet

Penang journos stand in solidarity

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.

Uphold justice,
stop heavy-handed
politicians

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. Continue reading

Henti tindakan, gugur dakwaan – IoJ

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.

Institute of Journalists Malaysia

Hak semua
wartawan:
bertugas tanpa
gangguan
dan tekanan

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.

TERTANDA
Ahli Badan Wartawan Malaysia; Pengamal media Malaysia; Penyokong kebebasan media dan kebebasan bersuara

Drop the charges, stop swoop says IoJ

Statement by the Institute of Journalists Malaysia – Badan Wartawan Malaysia

Institute of Journalists Malaysia

THE RIGHT
TO REPORT
WITHOUT FEAR

• 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
Wartawan Malaysia

OTHER VOICES

» Apologise to Susan
says journalists union

» An attack on our
right to know – NUJP

» They want to intimidate journalists – Geramm

» Free speech under attack – international jurists


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

Apologise to Susan, says NUJ

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.

AN ATTEMPT
TO INTIMIDATE
AND INTERFERE

the Police should issue an apology to [Susan Loone] for the trauma and inconveniences caused on her and her family… The union believes the police, by invoking the Sedition Act to investigate a journalist is regarded as a means to intimidate and interfere with press freedom.
NUJ MALAYSIA

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. Continue reading