AS ‘khuatir’ tindakan keras Putrajaya terhadap media

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Sumber: The Malaysian Outsider

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Amerika Syarikat ‘sangat khuatir’ dengan tindakan sekatan kebebasan media dan Internet yang dilakukan Putrajaya berhubung laporan mengenai hal ehwal semasa dalam negeri dan menggesa menghormati kebebasan bersuara sepenuhnya. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 3 Mac, 2016.

Amerika Syarikat (AS) hari ini menyuarakan kebimbangan mengenai tindakan keras Malaysia terhadap media dan mengatakan kebebasan akhbar dan Internet di negara Asia boleh menjejaskan prospek kerjasama 2 hala daripada berkembang.

Jurucakap Jabatan Negara AS John Kirby berkata Washington “sangat khuatir” sekatan akses Malaysia baru-baru ini berhubung laporan mengenai hal ehwal semasa dalam negeri, termasuk menyekat akses kepada The Malaysian Insider (TMI), sebuah portal berita pada minggu lepas.

TMI menerbitkan laporan mengenai skandal berkaitan 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) dan penyiasatan berhubung AS$681 juta yang didepositkan ke dalam akaun bank Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia berkata portal berita itu melanggar undang-undang di bawah Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia, undang-undang 1998 yang melarang menggunakan laman web bagi menerbitkan “apa-apa komen, permintaan, cadangan atau komunikasi lain yang lucah, sumbang, palsu, mengancam atau jelik sifatnya dengan niat menyakitkan hati, menganiaya, mengugut atau mengganggu orang lain”.

Najib menafikan sebarang salah laku ke atas wang yang dipindahkan ke dalam akaunnya, dengan mengatakan ia adalah sumbangan politik dan tiada apa diambil untuk kepentingan peribadinya.

AS juga bimbang apa yang kerajaan gagal lakukan berkaitan tindakan terhadap kumpulan media yang menjadi sasaran sebelum ia menyekat akses dan memulakan siasatan jenayah terhadap wartawan, editor dan penerbit, kata Kirby.

“Kebimbangan yang sama juga berhubung ramai pengguna media sosial di Malaysia menghadapi tuduhan bagi posting kritikal mereka terhadap kerajaan dan pemimpin-pemimpin negara,” kata beliau sambil menambah pegawai Malaysia bercakap mengenai pindaan undang-undang “yang akan terus menyekat ruang online”.

Beliau berkata, AS berharap “mengembangkan kerjasama kami” dengan Malaysia terhadap cabaran bersama, sambil menambah “dalam konteks itu, kami menggesa kerajaan Malaysia memastikan semua undang-undang, yang sedia ada dan akan datang, menghormati kebebasan bersuara sepenuhnya, termasuk aliran bebas idea di Internet “. – Reuters, 3 Mac, 2016.

 


US ‘very concerned’ about Putrajaya’s media crackdown
Source: The Malaysian Outsider

The United States yesterday voiced concern about Malaysia’s media crackdown and suggested that the extent of press and Internet freedom in the Asian country could affect prospects for expanded bilateral cooperation.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said Washington was “very concerned” by Malaysia’s recent restrictions of access to reporting on its domestic current affairs, including last week’s blocking of access to The Malaysian Insider, a news portal.

The Malaysian Insider has published reports on the scandal around 1Malaysia Development Berhad and investigations into US$681 million deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bank accounts.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said the news portal had breached laws under the Communications and Multimedia Act, a 1998 law that bars using a website to publish “any comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person”.

Najib has denied any wrongdoing over the money transferred into his account, saying that the funds were a political donation and that nothing was taken for his personal gain.

The US is also troubled that the government has failed to provide due process to targeted media groups before blocking access and has begun criminal investigations of reporters, editors and publishers, Kirby said.

“Of equal concern, many Malaysian social media users face charges for postings critical of the government and national leaders,” he said, adding that Malaysian officials have spoken about legal amendments “that would further restrict online space”.

He said the US hoped “to expand our cooperation” with Malaysia on shared challenges, adding “in that context, we urge the government of Malaysia to ensure that all its laws, existing and future, fully respect freedom of expression, including the free flow of ideas on the Internet”. – Reuters, March 3, 2016.

 

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