The suspension of The Edge is a most serious assault on press freedom
24 July 2015
Lawyers for Liberty condemns in the strongest possible terms the Home Ministry’s three-month suspension order against The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for their reporting of the 1MDB scandal.
This is a most serious assault on the freedom of the press, a case of suppressing dissenting and critical press as under no circumstances could The Edge’s coverage of the 1MDB scandal could be described as “prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest” as alleged in the suspension order.
The Edge’s coverage of the 1MDB scandal was Malaysia’s press’ finest hour. It was journalism at its best as they fearlessly investigated and reported on the massive and complex 1MDB scandal despite the overwhelming odds and threats against them. The Edge should be lauded for their outstanding journalism instead of being persecuted.
We also note with extreme concern that such underhanded tactics is not new, as in the recent past, The Edge, The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini and other independent press had also been targeted while pro government press like Utusan Malaysia has been allowed to publish freely.
The authorities must be reminded that journalism is not a crime. Press freedom is an indispensable component of any modern and democratic society as it functions as a form of check and balance against government excesses. Such authoritarian behaviour unfortunately sends a chilling message to the press to self-censor on issues such as 1MDB or else they may invite retaliation.
We call upon the Home Ministry to immediately retract the suspension order and let the public and market forces decide on whether The Edge’s coverage on the 1MDB scandal had been credible or otherwise.
Lawyers for Liberty