Letter from CIJ Malaysia, 2 May 2012

Dear journalists and former journalists,

Please sign the petition below condemning intimidation and violence
towards Malaysian journalists at this link:

We, members of the journalistic fraternity of Malaysia, appalled by
the attacks on journalists covering the mass public rally on the
streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday April 28, and by restrictions on
coverage of the rally in the media,

CONDEMN the use of intimidation and violence against journalists,

CONDEMN all actions preventing journalists and the media from
providing full, fair and accurate accounts of events that are of
concern to Malaysian citizens,

CONDEMN the action of media organisations in withholding reports or
being complicit in a news blackout of attacks on journalists,

CALL FOR immediate and firm action by the Government of Malaysia, the
Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Royal Malaysia Police against all
those involved in these acts of violence and intimidation to prevent
journalists from carrying out their duty and depriving Malaysian
citizens of fair, full and accurate accounts; and

CALL UPON the Government of Malaysia, the Ministry of Home Affairs and
the Royal Malaysia Police to give their assurance of firm action to
protect the right of all journalists to cover public events without
fear of violence and intimidation, and without interference from the

According to published reports and information from our colleagues:

One journalist suffered head injuries when attacked by the crowd

One journalist, assaulted by police, was feared to have suffered broken ribs

Several journalists reported being atacked by police

A female journalist was manhandled by several male police

Photographic equipment was smashed or destroyed

Data storage cards of journalists’ cameras were removed and destroyed

Journalists were ordered not to take photographs of police action

The action by members of the police force, apparently acting on
orders, or "arahan dari atas", was taken directly against journalists
engaged in carrying out their duties and clearly aimed at preventing
journalists from reporting accurately on events that they witnessed,
and in several cases to specifically prevent them from reporting on
police action to disperse the rally.

These actions on the ground are in direct contradiction of the
Malaysian Government’s declarations of respect of the rights of
journalists and the mass media, and of the Government’s intention to
carry out reforms for a vibrant Malaysia media that will hold its
place in the world media community.

We wish to remind the authorities that It is the duty of all
journalists and of the media to provide full, fair and accurate
reports and keep citizens informed of current issues that are of
concern. Violence and intimidation are acts of censorship to prevent
public knowledge of these events.

We urge the Malaysian Government, and especially the Ministry of Home
Affairs and the Royal Malaysia Police, to live up to their
responsibilities to safeguard the role of the media in carrying out
their duty to inform the Malaysian people, and to ensure that
journalists are able to report freely without intimidation and
interference, especially from the authorities.

References – published accounts:

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