Press group condemns raid of newsportal

A loose coalition of media practitioners called Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) have condemned the joint raid by police and officers from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission on the office of online news portal The Malaysian Insider yesterday evening.


At 5.45pm about a dozen officers raided the news portal’s office in Petaling Jaya, arrested three senior editors and seized their equipment for alleged offences under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and the Section 233 MCMC Act.

The three are managing editor Lionel Morais, Bahasa Malaysia editor Amin Shah Iskandar and features and analysis editor Zulkifli Sulong.

Their arrests were followed by two more arrests this morning, with police arresting chief executive Jahabar Sadiq and publisher Ho Kay Tat when they arrived at the Dang Wangi police station to give their statements.

It is understood that the police are seeking a remand order from a magistrate.

Officers from MCMC and the police raid the TMI office (Pic from TMI)

Officers from MCMC and the police raid the TMI office (Pic from TMI)

“Geramm views the arrest as an excessive use of police powers against the media. We view the act as a form of intimidation and harassment , as well as an attempt to use undue influence to silence the media.

“While we note that a police report was lodged by the keeper of the royal seal on the matter and that the institution of royalty and its dignity should be protected, so must be the freedom of the media which in itself is an institution in democratic Malaysia,” the group in a statement yesterday said.

The group also added that the media serves the public trust by providing them with avenues of information, especially at the time when facts and information are scarce and the public hungers for news on issues of national importance.

“The media is duty bound to step in and serve their trust by providing information, even if its in the realms of speculation, in the vacuum.

“As such, any attempts to curtail the media’s ability to perform its duties is a violation of public’s right to information and a threat to democracy,” it said.

The group was formed to fight for the rights of the media and was initially set up when news weekly The Heat was suspended for an unflattering article of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor.

The group said if the police or any other party had issues with news or reporting by the media, there is no need to criminalise the reporting of news itself.

“The way this should be handled is supposed to be via engagement between the parties concerned and with the media organisation so that clarification and the right of reply is served.

“Geramm urge the powers that be and especially our moderate Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to take notice and stop such tactics of intimidation and the use of draconian laws such as the Sedition Act which is no longer in line with international standards,” it said.

 – The Rocket

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