The International Federation of Journalists joins it affiliate the National Union of Journalists, Peninsular Malaysia (NUJM) in condemning the temporary ban against two Malaysian publications by the government for its reporting. The IFJ and NUJM join Malaysian and international groups in condemning the recent actions of the government and calling for solidarity and support for those affected by the actions.
On Friday, July 24, The Edge Group announced that the Home Ministry had suspended the publishing permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 25. The ban was the result of the two publication’s reportage of the state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). 1MDB has been under investigation following allegations that banks, companies and government agencies linked to the state fund, of which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib is an advisor, wired approximately $700 million USD to the Prime Minister’s personal accounts.
According to the Home Ministry, the publishing licenses were temporarily suspended as the publications had violated the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. In the letter to The Edge Group, the Ministry said that the reporting was “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest.” The suspension comes just a few days after the Home Ministry blocked access to the Sarawak Report, a website that has also carried critical coverage of 1MDB.
Following the suspension, The Edge Group said they would apply for a judicial review of the suspension, and would not retract any of its reporting. Ho Kay Tat the publisher and Group CEO of The Edge Group also said that they would continue reporting on the 1MDB, as there was still so much to report on.
Schave de Rozario, general secretary of NUJM said: “NUJM believes this is clearly a step back in press freedom. Why should journalists face suspension when they are only doing their job and would not print if they do not have the fact to back their articles? Furthermore, why penalise a paper when the case is still on going.”
The IFJ said: “The temporary banning of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily is a blatant attack on press freedom and the right to information. The IFJ joins the international community in condemning the actions of the Malaysian Government, and we stand in solidarity with our colleagues who continue to fight for press freedom.”
“We call on the Malaysian Government to immediately repeal the ban against The Edge Group and all other media outlets in Malaysia. We call on Prime Minister Najib to honour his pre-election promise of a free online media for Malaysia.”
On August 8, a coalition of journalist groups will hold a solidarity rally and are using the #attheedge to show solidarity for staff and the media group.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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