Raids on Malaysiakini and The Star high handed and unnecessary
9 November 2015
Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) raid on Malaysiakini and The Star on 6 November and today over news reports of an alleged “transfer” of a Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). The journalists and editors who were involved in the reports were questioned and computers were also seized.
It was not in dispute that Malaysiakini and The Star had published the reports in question and any investigation, if needed at all, could have been done in a more professional and less high handed manner. If the reports had been found to be inaccurate or misleading, the correct reaction would be to rebut the reports and request the news organisations to retract or publish a correction.
Such an overkill reaction to a seemingly accurate story – confirmed by Law Minister Nancy Shukri in Parliament that the DPP was indeed “transferred” is mind-boggling to say the least (See “Nancy confirms MACC prosecutor transferred internally,” Malaysiakini, 4 November 2015). It unfortunately sends a strong and chilling message for the media to tip toe around controversial issues especially the 1MDB minefield.
It is clear that the raids were not necessary as any investigation, if at all, could have been done with the news organisations’ cooperation. The authorities must be reminded that journalism is not a crime and press freedom remains an indispensable component of any modern and democratic society.
Lawyers for Liberty