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Freedom of
An Annual Review by the
Centre for Independent
                                       T   his year, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) produced
Review: Freedom of expression 2007 -
              Persecution in the name of national security
          ‘If the choice i...
media is certainly not uniform across the ruling         of Journalists President, while all private-owned
parties. In the...
actions that they were intended to silence the
bloggers from discussing those issues.
Another related case is of a Malaysi...
The real danger of little freedom of                   impacted on the diversity and plurality of information
Outline: Freedom of expression violations 2007
                     Editorial Interference and Legal threat against media
21 March               Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin issued a statement to mainstream
25 July (reported)       De-facto law Minister Nazri Aziz threatened to use the ISA, Sedition Act
9 December    Police arrested and charged 5 lawyers and 3 others for leading the Bar
              Council walk without pe...
4 August                 Police canceled the permit for a meeting on the rights to water organized
7 June                               37 books, deemed misleading the Muslims, were banned by the Internal
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Freedom of Expression in Malaysia in 2007: An Annual Review by CIJ


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A report on the state of freedom of expression in Malaysia in 2007, published by Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia

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Freedom of Expression in Malaysia in 2007: An Annual Review by CIJ

  1. 1. Malaysia: Freedom of expression 2007 An Annual Review by the Centre for Independent Journalism
  2. 2. Foreword T his year, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) produced its inaugural annual review for freedom of expression (FOE) in Malaysia. It is a step further towards systemic documentation of the state of FOE in the country. The review is the outcome of a year Content long monitoring, which constitutes one of CIJ’s key functions. We are hopeful that the annual review will contribute towards greater awareness of FOE issues. Foreword 2 2007 is a year sadly marred by continued shrinking of media space Review 3-6 and persecution of those who seek alternative modes of expression, namely through the internet and street assemblies. The review Outline 7-12 section highlights the main FOE violations and the context of such violations, and accompanied by a list of cases recorded throughout About CIJ 12 2007 by CIJ. We wish to remind readers that the list is based on reports in both the mainstream and alternative press and therefore is by no means exhaustive. CIJ has undertaken verification for the cases to ensure factual accuracy. The continued deterioration is a result of lack of reforms towards greater openness by the current administration despite promises made by the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi before taking power in 2004. The lack of reform in this and other areas, such as the economy and religious practices, also ignited people’s desire to speak out using what little available means. To the people, blogs and peaceful assemblies are legistimate modes of expression, a view unfortunately not shared by the government, which seemed Prepared by Yip Wai Fong, to be alarmed at the sudden show of defiance. Instead of listening Advocacy Officer to and addressing the people’s needs, the government chose email: persecution. Although FOE in Malaysia will continue to be dominated by For more information, please legislation and political factors, it is CIJ’s mission to see the creation of a society where all people enjoy free media and the contact freedom to express, seek and impart information. We continue to call for the abolition of repressive laws, the setting up of a Centre for Independent Parliamentary Select Committee on Media Reforms, and for greater Journalism (CIJ) public scrutiny of and engagement with the media. 27C Jalan Sarikei, Off Jalan Pahang 53000 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 03 40230772 Fax: 03 40230769 Creative Commons license CC Gayathry Venkiteswaran Attribution-Non-commercial 3.0 Executive Director
  3. 3. Review: Freedom of expression 2007 - Persecution in the name of national security ‘If the choice is between public safety and public freedom, I do not hesitate to say here that public safety will always win,’ - Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, 9 Dec 2007 O verall, the state of freedom of expression in 2007 marked a further deterioration compared to 2006. While 2006 was highlighted The Printing Presses and Publications Act, which gives much by the suspension of newspapers due to the power to the Ministry of Internal Security to Muhammad caricature, the closure of public exercise control over the discussion on race and religion initiated by the media the censorship of Article 11 coalition, and the censorship on books publications. and film, 2007 was marked by three distict trends; increased media interference to tighten the flow of information, persecution on people who use alternative platforms for expression such as bloggers, and clampdown on street assemblies. broadcasters against giving airtime for speeches by Editorial interferences by the government were the opposition political parties. This was however prevalent throughout the year, while harassment reversed by the Minister of Energy, Water and of bloggers increased both in frequency and Communication, Lim Keng Yaik. severity during the second half of the year. The last two months of 2007 witnessed a surge of The “no coverage” orders by the Internal Security crackdown on public assemblies, culminating in Ministry and Information Ministry to the media the invocation of the Internal Security Act (ISA) were prompted by various issues of the day, against five leaders of the Hindus Rights Action ranging from what was being discussed in the Force (HINDRAF) political blogs to the assemblies by BERSIH (a coalition of political parties and non-governmental Tightening the media space groups on free and fair elections) and HINDRAF. The bans were sometimes selective. For example, Interference in media reporting by official the media was barred from reporting responses directives, warnings, “advice” and harassment and outcry over the Deputy Prime Minister’s continued to be one the biggest trends in Malaysia. proclamation that Malaysia is an Islamic state The principal givers of directives were the Ministry despite its secular constitution. In a letter, it was of Internal Security, headed by the Prime Minister stated that only the views of the Prime Minister himself and the Ministry of Information, headed and his deputy on this issue should prevail in by Minister Zainuddin Maidin. However, the year the print media. This was at the expense of other also saw a number of other state actors exerting Barisan Nasional component parties, which also control over media content. They ranged from the felt strongly against the DPM’s statement. In the police and the Law Minister, Nazri Aziz who tried HINDRAF issue, statements by UMNO leaders to bar media coverage on crime, to the Chairman continued to receive coverage despite an order of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia by the authorities to play the issue down. This Commission, Halim Shafie who ordered demonstrates that the level of dominance over the
  4. 4. media is certainly not uniform across the ruling of Journalists President, while all private-owned parties. In the meantime, the Information Ministry newspapers steered away from the issue. has been vocal in attacking bolder or independent media, despite it having no power to censure the Reigning in the bloggers media. The Minister has twice attacked theSun, an English daily known for pushing the boundaries. It The second trend is the intimidation, which shifted also attacked international new agency, Al Jazeera from rhetoric in 2006 to actual persecution against for its live report on police violence during the bloggers who write about social and political BERSIH rally. issues. Two such bloggers were slapped with defamation suits (Jeff Ooi and Ahiruddin Atan, Self-censorship aka Rocky Bru) by New Straits Times and its top officials; one (Nathaniel Tan) was detained for four Editorial interference is also days because of a link part of the underlying factor These bloggers were targeted amidst posted by an anonymous for the general practices developments that were threatening commentator; another of self-censorship among (Raja Petra Kamarudin) the government. Jeff Ooi and Ahirud- editors. It should be noted and his wife, not a blogg that the list of interference is din Atan were sued amidst the feud er, were grilled by the not exhaustive as there could between Prime Minister Abdullah police after UMNO, be many unreported cases Ahmad Badawi and former PM Maha- the largest ruling party especially the more subtle thir Mohammad. Actions against Raja lodged a report under ones. This could be the Petra and Nathaniel came at the time the Sedition Act; and reason for the termination of of a rift between the Deputy Minis- another (Tian Chua) columnists Amir Muhammad ter of Internal Security and the police was questioned under and Zainah Anwar in the the Communications force, as allegation of serious corrup- pro-government New Straits and Multimedia Act Times. The former is an tion in the police force was gaining for posting a photo- independent filmmaker while momentum. montage. Two other the latter is a women rights bloggers received threats, activist. Self-censorship also one a member of the leads to unethical reporting when certain stories government backbenchers club, (Ruhanie Ahmad) were slanted heavily towards the government. One and a California-based Malaysian (M.Bakri Musa). example of such bias is the reporting of public These bloggers were targeted amidst developments rallies by BERSIH in Batu Burok, Terengganu that were threatening the government. Jeff Ooi and Kuala Lumpur and the one organised by and Ahiruddin Attan were sued amidst the feud HINDRAF, also in the city. HINDRAF and BERSIH between Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were subject to severe criticism for purportedly and former PM Mahathir Mohammad. Actions being violent, while the reports were silent on against Raja Petra and Nathaniel came at the time the violence by the police and security forces. of a rift between the Deputy Minister of Internal Casualties from the civilians’ side were severely Security and the police force, as allegation of underreported. Also, the media mostly dismissed serious corruption in the police force was gaining the RSF Press Freedom Index, which showed momentum. Tian Chua was questioned during a huge drop in Malaysia’s ranking, as being a the trial of the murder of Altantuya Sharibuu, a western agenda. Interestingly, state-run Radio 24 Mongolian. His photo-montage suggested a link (a newly launched 24-hours news stations) ran between the Deputy Prime Minister, his aide Abdul an interview with the Centre for Independent Razak and Altantuya herself, who was purportedly Journalism Executive Director and National Union murdered by Abdul Razak. It is clear from the
  5. 5. actions that they were intended to silence the bloggers from discussing those issues. Another related case is of a Malaysian student in Taiwan, Wee Meng Chee, who was under fire for his music video on YouTube, of the national anthem with rap lyrics, mainly about his feelings concerning corruption, discrimination and race relations. The government threatened action under the Sedition Act and the National Anthem Act. The police however conceded that it was unable to charge Wee for posting the video abroad. Wee was subsequently compelled to issue an apology. This incident also brought the issue of ethical Police presence at the Bar Council’s lawyers walk, which reporting to attention as the story first appeared, ended with six lawyers arrested in the language of condemnation, in Harian Metro, a tabloid under the government-link media conglomerate Media Prima. in the Human Rights Day celebrations and 26 members of the BERSIH who tried to go to Quashing peaceful assemblies Parliament to submit a memorandum to protest the constitutional amendment on the tenure of The momentum of crackdown on public the Chairman of Election Commission. Police assemblies gathered since the rally organized by also started hunting down leaders and re-arresting BERSIH, the coalition for clean and fair election, participants of the assemblies. Tian Chua from at Batu Burok. Live bullets were shot at the crowd Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Mohamad Sabu resulting in the injury of two. It is unprecedented from PAS, both part of BERSIH, were arrested on in terms of police violence in controlling the 9 December. Three days earlier, 31 people from crowd. At the BERSIH and HINDARF rallies, the HINDRAF rally were re-arrested and charged police instituted elaborate measures to break fro attempted murder and attending an illegal them by mounting roadblocks, stopping buses, assembly. Uthayakumar himself were arrested, cars and arresting passengers, firing chemical released and re-arrested on 11 December laced water and tear gas at the crowd, and under the Sedition Act. He and four others were arresting participants. In the BERSIH-organised eventually detained under the Internal Security rally in Kuala Lumpur on 10 November, 34 Act on 13 December. people were known to be arrested, while 136 people were arrested during the HINDRAF The government also showed less tolerant rally on 25 November. HINDRAF leader P towards pickets organized by workers’ union. The Uthayakumar, his brother P. Waythamoorthy MTUC, a union congress was threatened with and V. Ganabatirau, were arrested under the deregisteration and accused of pro-opposition Sedition Act two days before the rally. Two by the deputy human resource minister, Abdul more assemblies were held after that - the Rahman Bakar, after organizing a series of pickets lawyers’ walk on Human Rights Day and a in June demanding a minimum wage. The ministry gathering of people to support the submission in August tabled an amendment which include of a memorandum to Members of Parliament provisions to curtail the right to picketing. Ogn organised by BERSIH. In a new trend, police December 15, the National Union of Bank obtained restraining orders against participants Employees called of its second planned pickets to the HINDRAF rally and the Parliament group. following police’s directive. These gatherings resulted in six lawyers arrested
  6. 6. The real danger of little freedom of impacted on the diversity and plurality of information in an already controlled environment. expression is the risk of increasing polarization along ethnicities among Growing awareness among people Malaysians. The gap is also poised to widen between those who subscribe Ironically, the increase of persecution is the mostly to the mainstream media, government’s direct response to the growing which often misinform according to awareness of the people to their rights to express. The the interest of the powers-that be, 20,000 - 30,000 turn out at the Bersih and Hindraf and those who access wider source assemblies are signs of the times. The increased awareness is also reflected in the continued of information from the internet and interest in web content, especially during the foreign media. recent assemblies. On a smaller scale, groups and individuals began to challenge the government’s decision to censor. Author K Arumugam, is seeking Threats, attacks against media workers judicial review for the ban on his book “March 8”, an account of the Kampung Medan clash. So is Pastor Another worrying trend that has surfaced is the Jerry Dusing, president of the church group Sabah attacks on journalists and photographers by state Sidang Injil, which challenged the government’s actors or those with suspected links with state seizure of books it imported for education purposes. actors. Four such cases were reported in the media. The books were seized because of Malay words used The more serious is a journalist from the Malaysia in Christian context, which the government argued Nanban, a Tamil language daily, who was assaulted should be for Muslims only. Islamic youth group by unknown assailants. He has come out of a coma ABIM has called upon the government to lift the ban and has vowed to continue his writings, some of on US writer Karen Armstrong’s books on religion. which are critical of the administration and the leading Indian political party, the Malaysian Indian It is still too early to tell where this revival of Congress (MIC). His colleague in the northern awareness, since the era of Reformasi, will lead territory has also lodged a police report after to. Already, there is unease within the society that receiving a death threat from an unknown person. extremism might hold sway, a concern no doubt He was warned to stop writing about the problem of fuelled by the government. This danger can be the Tamil schools or faced the same consequences curbed if people realize that the real danger of as his colleague in coma. In August, the government little freedom of expression is the risk of increasing issued a one-month suspension order on Tamil- polarization along ethnicities. The gap is also poised language daily Makkal Osai for its publication of a to widen between those who subscribe mostly to the drawing of Jesus holding a cigarette and drink can. mainstream media, which often misinform according The newspaper is one of the few that has been to the interest of the powers-that be, and those who critical of the Indian leadership. access wider sources of information from the internet and foreign media. On the clampdown of assemblies, Underlying these problems are the concentration those who read mainstream media are only of media ownership, where in this year alone, four presented with the picture of harmony under siege Chinese-language dailies – Sin Chew Daily, Guang and the provocation of one race against the others. Ming Daily, China Press and Nanyang Siang Pau It seriously calls into question the government’s – were consolidated under one company owned wisdom that freedom of expression must play second by a timber tycoon, Tiong Hiew King, known for fiddle to racial harmony. The opposite proves to his close relations with the ruling party. Ownership be true. Any widening of misunderstanding among of the private media by big corporate companies, races is traceable to the limitation on freedom of and with close ties to the government, have further expression. q
  7. 7. Outline: Freedom of expression violations 2007 Editorial Interference and Legal threat against media 4 December Editors were told in a meeting with the Internal Security Ministry not to give prominence to Hindraf and to the images of police violence during the rally. 2 December (reported) Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin criticized English daily theSun for giving coverage to the march organized by Bar Council, accusing it as disregarding the spirit of national unity in the time when the country just had a few massive public rallies. Unspecified Media instructed not to report on the BERSIH rally on Nov 10 and its aftermath. 12 Oct (reported) Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin gave “advice” to news editors to not publish news that was unfavorable to the government image, saying the PM’s pledge to hear the truth doesn’t apply to media. 29 August (reported) Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin accused English daily theSun as a pro Opposition paper. 4 September Zainuddin repeated his accusations on theSun 19 July The Internal Security Ministry directed media to stop reporting responses to the Deputy Prime Minister’s assertion that the country is an Islamic state. The media were only allowed to report the Prime Minister or the Deputy PM’s view on the issue. 12 July De-facto law Minister Nazri Aziz barred media coverage from the public hearing on crime in Selangor, contrary to the previous hearing in Johor. The hearing was organized by the Parliamentary Caucus on human rights. 29 June (reported) The MCMC directed private TV and radio stations to immediately stop broadcasting speeches by opposition. The letter was signed by chairman Halim Shafie, and gave no justification. 22 June Borneo Post (Sarawak Edition) reported that police told crime reporters that police permission must be obtained to write and publish a crime story, and that information could only come from police sources including restrictions on visiting crime scenes. Anyone failing to observe the restrictions could be arrested under the OSA. 17 May (reported) Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud sued two online news portal Malaysiakini and Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia - for alleged defamation over coverage of the timber kickbacks scandal.
  8. 8. 21 March Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin issued a statement to mainstream press reiterating the earlier warning from the Internal Security Ministry to not publish information from the Internet, specifically blogs. 13 March The Internal Security Ministry sent a circular to media directing them not to quote from blogs. The Warning comes amidst an investigation of the deputy minister of internal security on corruption charges which first broke out in the blogosphere. 15 Feb The Internal Security Ministry warned the opposition paper Harakah for having transgressed licensing conditions, without being specific. It mentioned the publication of “speculative” article and threatened “strict action” against the paper. Intimidation against bloggers 24 December Police arrested, assaulted and raided the home of blogger Mohd Shukri Mohd Ramli, also a member of PKR. Shukri claimed police failed to pro- duce a warrant and provided no reason for his arrest. 10 December Police interrogated blogger Jeff Ooi for statement he made as a guest com- mentator at Al-Jazeera for the BERSIH rally on Nov 10. Police reports were made against him by three groups affiliated with the government. 5 December Deputy Internal Security Minister, Fu Ah Kiow revealed in Parliament that 5 persons are being investigated under the Sedition Act for their postings online, including Nathaniel Tan and Wee Meng Chee. 7-22 August Following a video on YouTube of the national anthem with rap lyrics criti- cizing the government, its producer, student Wee Meng Chee was threat- ened with action under Sedition Act and the revoke of his citizenship. He subsequently apologized. 13 August (reported) Vice-President of UMNO, Muhyiddin Yassin called for laws to be amended to enable action against bloggers, who are hitherto partially protected by the Multimedia Bill of Guarantees. 13 August Ruhanie Ahmad, blogger and member of the Backbenchers’ Club, lodged a police report over a threat he received via sms, which said that “bloggers will be eliminated”. 7 August Police questioned Marina Lee, wife of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin about content on her husbands blog, Malaysia Today. 25 July Police questioned popular blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin for 8 hours after a police report was made against him by the UMNO Information Chief, alleging him for insulting the Agong
  9. 9. 25 July (reported) De-facto law Minister Nazri Aziz threatened to use the ISA, Sedition Act and Penal Code against bloggers. 13 July Blogger Nathaniel Tan was detained by police for 4 days for investigation under the Official Secrets Act, due to a link to a website implicating the deputy minister of internal security Johari Baharum of corruption. The link was put in his blog by an anonymous commentator. On the same day, Johari Baharum instructed police to investigate bloggers who “spread lies”. He was cleared by the ACA a day earlier of corruption charges, which surfaced at the said website. 10 July The Multimedia and Communication Commission (MCMC) launched an investigation against blogger and Information Chief of PKR, Tian Chua, after a complaint was filed by UMNO Youth, for publication of a photo montage portraying the deputy prime minister negatively. 15 June (reported) The Cabinet decided to set up a taskforce to study how existing laws can be used against blogs and websites. It will look into expanding the Sedition Act to include blogs and other online contents. New Straits Times Press (NSTP) filed defamation suits against bloggers 4 January Jeff Ooi and Ahiruddin Attan (Rocky’s Bru). NSTP also obtained injunction to remove postings from both blogs that they see as defamatory. Some cases of bloggers harassment were less overt; In October, M. Bakri Musa, a surgeon based in US wrote about the warning from a police friend against him returning to Malaysia, and that his close friends being interviewed by the Special Branch. Clampdown of Assemblies 15 December (reported) The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) called off its planned picket after being told by the police. 13 December 5 Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganapathy Rao, and T Vasanthakumar were arrested under the ISA. 11 December P. Uthayakumar was arrested twice under the Sedition Act on the same day. Police also arrested 29 people from BERSIH at the parliament, for leading a group to submit a memorandum opposing an amendment to the Constitution. The amendment allows for the extension of the tenure of the Election Commission’s chairman. 10 December The High Court overuled the decision made by the Session Court of discharged not amounting to acquit the 3 Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan and Ganapathy Rao.
  10. 10. 9 December Police arrested and charged 5 lawyers and 3 others for leading the Bar Council walk without permit. Another lawyer, Edmond Bon was arrested and charged for refusing to take down a banner of the Bar Council’s Human Rights Festival. Police also arrested opposition leaders Tian Chua (Keadilan) and Mohammad Sabu (PAS) and 12 others in connection with the BERSIH rally. 6 December 31 people who assembled at the Batu Caves in order to take part in the Hindraf rally on November 25, were re-arrested, charged and denied bail for attempted murder of a police officer. 12 among them are also charged for participating in illegal assembly. All of them were released and discharged on 17 November. 4 December Due to police’s reluctance to issue a permit, the Bar Council called off its planned walk on the International Human Rights Day. 29 November Six more were charged for parcipating in the “illegal” Hindraf rally. Two of the leaders, Ganapathy Rao and M. Manoharan were re-arrested under the Sedition Act. 28 November 88 were charged for participating in the Hindraf rally. 27 November PM threatened to invoke ISA against future rallies participants and those involved in the recent rallies. 25 November Police broke the Hindraf rally by firing tear gas, water canon and gener- al force. 136 people were remanded, of which 69 were arrested before they arrived at the rally’s venue. They were taken at Batu Caves where they gathered in the morning. All of them were released at 27 Nov. 23 November Police arrested three key organizers/leaders ahead of the Hindraf rally under the Sedition Act. They were discharged but not amounted to acquital on 27 November. 10 November Tear gas, chemical laced water was fired at participants of the massive BERSIH rally. Days before the event, roadblocks were mounted to block people from entering the city where the rally was going to be held. Human right group Suaram reported 34 were arrested, though the police claimed 245 in the media. 9 September Police used tear gas used and live ammunition on participants of the BERSIH rally in Batu Burok, Terengganu. Two participants shot and wounded. The rally which had been a traveling road show without prior incident, was refused a permit. 28 August Deputy Minister of Human Resources threatened to deregister the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) after the union staged a nationwide picket in June to demand for minimum wage. The Minister also accused the Union of harboring an anti-government agenda. 10
  11. 11. 4 August Police canceled the permit for a meeting on the rights to water organized by the Coalition Against Water Privatization and several religious groups. The meeting was scheduled on 10 August. Others 5 December Catholic weekly the Herald filed a suit against the Internal Security Ministry because of the latter’s ban on the Herald’s using the Malay translation “Allah” for “God”. The Ministry had earlier refused to give a permit to the Herald, but relented on 30 December while maintaining the ban on using “Allah”, which it said is strictly for Muslim. 22 November (reported) 15 journalists lodged police reports against a police officer for preventing them from covering a murder case and using dogs to chase them away from the scene. 16 November A photographer was assaulted by an UMNO member while on duty covering an opposition’s charge of public fund misuse by UMNO. 13 November A journalist from Tamil paper Malaysian Nanban lodge a police report after receiving threat for his coverage on the state of Tamil schools. 2 Nov A journalist from the same Tamil paper, covering the same issue was beaten to coma by unknown assailant. 5 Oct (reported) The Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) threatened to prosecute PKR politician Sivarasa Rasiah and the party’s staff Sim Tze Tsin if they do not reveal within 7 days the source of a video implicating a senior lawyer in the fixing of senior judiciary appointments. 24 August Makkal Osai was suspended for 30 days following the publication of a picture of Jesus holding a cigarette and a canned drink. Makkal Osai had earlier published an apology for two days. 15 August The Internal Security Ministry seized books imported by the church group Sabah Sidang Injil, for their translation from English containing several Malay words which the ministry said are strictly for Muslims. Its president, Pastor Jerry Dusing filed a suit for judicial review on December 10. Unspecified New Straits Times terminated the columns of activist Zainah Anwar and controversial filmmaker Amir Muhammad. Last columns appeared 2 August, and 27 July respectively. Zainah Anwar is the director of NGO Sister’s in Islam, a group that has been criticized by UMNO, while Amir’s films were twice banned by the govt. 13 July The Internal Security Ministry banned 14 books said to be deviations of Islamic teaching and pornography. 11
  12. 12. 7 June 37 books, deemed misleading the Muslims, were banned by the Internal Security Ministry. 21 of them were published in the US and UK while the rest were published locally and in Indonesia. 15 May The Internal Security Ministry confiscated copies of a book about the riots of May 13, 1969, from a major bookstore in Klang Valley. 27 April (reported) Local universities have set up election-monitoring committees to make sure students do not get involved in political activities of the recent by- elections. Officials followed students, photographed and recorded video of them without permission. 3 April A journalist covering the nominations for the Machap by-election, R.Malini was hurled vulgarities by members of the ruling party MIC. Photographer Malayandi was allegedly pushed and punched by an MIC official and Parliamentary Secretary for the Youth and Sports Ministry, SA Vigneswaran. 22 February The Censorship Board banned the film “Apa Khabar Orang Kampung” (Village People Radio Show) by local filmmaker Amir Muhammad, because of its interpretation of the history of local communists. 31 Jan National Censorship Board banned Taiwan-based Malaysian filmmaker Tsai his latest film “I don’t want to sleep alone”. The film depicts urban poor and the haze in Kuala Lumpur among other issues. Due to public outcry, the ban was lifted after the scenes were cut. 10 January Prime minister threatened to prosecute PKR under the Official Secrets Act for revealing the LDP Concessionaire Agreement, contradicting his agreement to uphold an open, transparent and accountable government. About CIJ The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is a non-profit organization which aspires to create a society that is democratic, just and free, where all people will enjoy free media and the freedom to express, seek and impart information. CIJ was started in response to the political crisis of 1998 as, a website that attempted to give broad analysis to current events. Today we have expanded our effort to advocacy of freedom of expression (FOE) and information (FOI) and to encourage proffesional journalism practices and media freedom in Malaysia. Our objectives; • Promote and defend the exercise of FOE • Raise public awareness on FOE/FOI to mobilize support for media freedom, expression and access to information. • Ensure good policies and advocating legislative change • Facilitating marginalized voice through community radio 1