IFJ Condemns Brutal Attacks on Media Personnel in Malaysia


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins our affiliate the National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJ) in calling for a thorough investigation of the attacks by police on more than twelve media personnel covering a public rally in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, on April 28, 2012.


According to various media reports, more than 12 photographers and journalists from at least 13 media outlets were intimidated, assaulted and/or detained by police while reporting on the ‘Bersih 3.0’ public rally for electoral reform.


Victims include personnel from Sin Chew Daily, Guang Ming Daily, The Star, Oriental News Daily, The Sun, Malay Mail, China Press, Nanyang Business Daily, Al Jazeera, Malaysiakini, online news website Merdeka Review and AL Hijrah TV.


Many were injured, with some receiving injuries serious enough to require stitches and hospitalisation.


Low Boon Tat, a photographer for The Star newspaper, reported that he was surrounded by approximately ten uniformed police officers while taking photos of the rally. They ordered him to delete photos from his camera. When he refused, police knocked his camera against the wall and smashed the lens.


A female photographer for the China Press newspaper reported that she was knocked down by a tear gas canister fired by police to disperse protestors. Members of the fleeing crowd stepped over her body. She was sent to hospital to treat her injuries. Her face remains swollen and sore after the incident.


The Malaysia Chinese Photographer Association (MCPA) has called on all media personnel in Malaysia to wear black clothing and a yellow ribbon on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, to voice their condemnation of the police attacks.


“The IFJ joins the NUJ in demanding Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail fully investigate these assaults,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


“It is alarming to witness police officers threatening and assaulting journalists who are simply engaged in reporting legitimate news stories. The press should be able to report freely on events in the public interest, without fear for their personal safety.


We urge Inspector-General Tan Sri Ismail to ensure that police officers fulfil their duty to protect the safety of media personnel in the interests of press freedom”.


The IFJ urges media personnel in Malaysia to support the MCPA’s campaign on World Press Freedom Day by wearing black clothing with a yellow ribbon to show solidarity for the campaign against police violence. 



For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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