Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

top
Capital News
Malaysian police are investigating Al Jazeera for alleged sedition and defamation

World

Malaysia police question Al Jazeera journalists over documentary

Malaysian police are investigating Al Jazeera for alleged sedition and defamation © AFP / Mohd RASFAN

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jul 10 – Malaysian police Friday questioned five Australian journalists from Al Jazeera over a documentary about the plight of migrants which has angered the government, as the broadcaster expressed shock at the probe.

The investigation into the Qatar-based network’s programme has added to concerns about a widening media crackdown in Malaysia after a scandal-plagued party came to power earlier this year.

In addition to the Al Jazeera case, the head of a leading news portal has been accused of contempt of court while a health news site’s editor is being probed over an article.

The documentary, “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”, looked at the detention of undocumented foreigners during a coronavirus lockdown, as well as the plight of other members of the migrant community.

But the government decried it as misleading and inaccurate, and police are now investigating the broadcaster for breaking laws against sedition, defamation and transmitting offensive content.

On Friday six Al Jazeera staff members were questioned for five hours by police in Kuala Lumpur over the documentary made for “101 East”, a weekly show featuring in-depth investigations.

Five of the six are Australian, according to Australian union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

The staff, including a bureau chief, correspondent, an executive producer, a producer and a cameraman, fought their way past a media pack as they arrived for questioning at police headquarters.

Malaysia’s national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador said prosecutors believed there were “elements of sedition” in the documentary but insisted that “police will act fairly”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We will give them the opportunity to explain themselves,” he said, adding it was up to the attorney-general’s office whether to take further action.

The staff interviewed Friday were being treated as witnesses in the case, not suspects, he said. He also said police were looking for a Bangladeshi man who appeared in the programme.

– ‘Journalism is not a crime’ –

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was providing assistance to a number of Australians in Kuala Lumpur.

Ahead of the questioning, Al Jazeera said it was “shocked” by Malaysia’s response to the documentary, broadcast on July 3, and it stood by the “professionalism, quality and impartiality of its journalism”.

“Charging journalists for doing their jobs is not the action of a democracy that values free speech,” it said. “Journalism is not a crime.”

Al Jazeera’s English-language channel has its Asian base in Kuala Lumpur.

The International Federation of Journalists, which represents media unions worldwide, said it “deeply regrets” Malaysian authorities using tough laws against transmitting offensive content “to silence and intimidate journalists”.

The show sparked a huge backlash online in Malaysia, and the defence minister demanded an apology from the broadcaster.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Authorities said the arrests in May of undocumented migrants were necessary to protect the public, although rights groups raised concern that placing them in detention centres could increase the risk of coronavirus infection.

Malaysia is home to large numbers of migrants from poorer countries — including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Myanmar — who work in industries ranging from manufacturing to agriculture.

Concern has been growing about worsening freedom of expression in Malaysia since a reformist government collapsed in February and a coalition headed by a scandal-mired party seized power.

One of the country’s leading independent news portals, Malaysiakini, faces contempt of court proceedings next week over reader comments on its site that were critical of the judiciary.

Play to listen to Capital FM News
Advertisement

More on Capital News

World

Dubai (AFP), Sep 28 – Millions of people will begin converging on Dubai this week as the Covid-delayed Expo 2020, the world’s biggest event...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 28 – The newly unveiled Teachers Professional Development programme (TPD) has suffered a major blow after an education consultant Joseph Ngethe...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya Sept 28- The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and the Petroleum Institute of East Africa are...

World

United Nations (United States) (AFP), Sep 27 – Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday Iran had breached all the “red lines” aimed at...

World

United Nations (United States) (AFP), Sep 27 – The UN General Assembly drew to a close Monday without speeches by Afghanistan or Myanmar after...

World

Berlin (AFP), Sep 27 – Germany is headed for weeks, if not months, of protracted coalition haggling as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives insisted Monday...

Kenya

NAIROBI,Kenya Sep 27 -Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has urged the youth to exploit digitization as a force for public...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 27 – Harambee Stars great Victor Wanyama, the first Kenyan to play in the English Premier League (EPL) made a shocking...