The Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia (FCCM) views with concern the police’s raid on Al Jazeera’s office in Kuala Lumpur over an episode of its 101 East series on Tuesday.
According to the police, computers were seized and will be sent to the Malaysians Communication and Multimedia Commission for further analysis.
The FCCM said in a statement today, ” it is of the view that such excessive actions reflect further erosion of media freedom seen in the country in recent months and suggests a worrying trend of employing intimidation tactics to silence news reports unfavourable to the government.”
The club is of the stance that authorities should engage with media organisations over news reports they find critical or are a misrepresentation of the facts.
According to Al Jazeera, FCCM said, it sought comment from the Malaysian government multiple times before airing its episode on the authorities’ treatment of undocumented migrant workers.
However, the government only responded after the episode was published, first in a press conference accessible only by “official media” and then through the law.
The FCCM reiterates that journalism is not a crime and media personnel should not face criminal investigations or charges for performing their duty.
The FCCM urges the Malaysian government to uphold its commitment to protect and facilitate press freedom and stands in solidarity with colleagues from Al Jazeera.
Malaysia police summon six Al Jazeera media workers for questioning relating to an investigation for defamation and violation of Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA).
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Australian affiliate the Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance (MEAA) also urges authorities to drop the case against Al Jazeera immediately.