The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today presented a letter, supported by 41 international freedom of expression organisations, calling on Malaysian Prime Minister Rajib Nazak to end the country’s attacks on political cartoonist Zunar. The letter calls on the Malaysian government to withdraw all charges of sedition currently against Zunar and highlighted his as an emblematic case in a wider issue in the use of the Sedition Act to curb press freedom in Malaysia.
Yesterday, the court adjourned Zunar’s sedition case until July 7. Since being charged with nine counts of sedition following a tweet and cartoon he published in February this year, Zunar’s case has become an international press freedom issue.
The IFJ said: “The case against Zunar has put the world’s focus on Malaysia’s use of the draconian Sedition Act to silience oppositional politicians and critical voices of the state.”
The case was adjourned due to a constitutional challenge against the Sedition Act (1948) by Dr Azmi Sharom. The Malaysian law professor is challenging the Act for restricting freedom of speech after he was charged under the law on September 2, 2014. Until the challenge by Dr Azmi has a decision from the Federal Court, Zunar’s case appears to be on hold.
The harassment against Zunar has a long history dating back a number of years. His books been banned across the country and online stores have been forced to reveal details of buyers.
The IFJ has launched an international campaign calling for all charges against Zunar to be withdrawn including an online petition calling for the government to honour its election promise in 2012, the abolish the Sedition Act (1948).
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