Journalists attacked covering protests in Malaysia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists, Peninsular Malaysia (NUJM) strongly criticize the attacks and harassment of journalists covering the Bersih 5 in Kuala Selangor in Malaysia on Saturday, October 15. The IFJ and NUJM demand an immediate investigation into the attacks and swift action against those responsible.

On Saturday, journalists from The Star were covering the Bersih 5 convoy handing out flyers outside a Hypermarket in Kuala Selangor when they were attacked and harassed by more than 30 ‘Anti-Bersih’ members on motorcycles. As the ‘Anti-Bersih’ group started antagonizing the convoy, they confronted the journalists, trying to get them to stop filming and reporting the incident. When a journalist was told to the delete and refused, a standoff took place between the two groups. One of the ‘Anti-Bersih’ members grabbed one of the journalists by the colar of her shirt and pushed her to ground, yelling ‘delete, delete, delete’. 

A second videographer was forced to delete footage from his smart phone, with the group snatching the phone and his media pass. When police finally arrived, several ‘Anti-Bersih’ members were arrested and taken to the police station.

NUJM said: “NUJ urgently calls upon the police to take swift action and arrest these group and bring them to justice for the sake of harmony and peace in our beloved Malaysia. NUJ reiterates that all Journalists must be accorded proper justice and be protected at all times from threats such as this which would interfere with their right to reporting. The constitution allows citizens the right to assemble peacefully. In any assembly it is the duty of all citizen to refrain from any threats and provocation, and as in this case not to cause the media as victims to harassment and threats. NUJ Malaysia will be lodging a police report against this anti-bersih group as it involved the safety of its members and journalists as a whole.”

The IFJ said: “We join NUJM is strongly criticizing the attack and harassment of journalists simply doing their job. Ensuring the safety and security of the media in the field is a priority and should be supported by the authorities. We join NUJM’s calls for the police to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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