HAKAM is appalled at the arrest and detention of the Australian journalists and the confiscation of their passports. Although HAKAM has been made to understand that the passports have been returned, this is still a total violation of the rights of journalists to investigate and report and to ask tough questions to arrive at the truth. Malaysia trumpets its democratic credentials on the international stage yet fails miserably when put to the test. Once again we are on the map for the wrong reasons. This is an act of intimidation designed to curtail freedom of press. This ‘chilling effect’ strategy has become a hallmark of the government to stifle enquiry. We advise the government to cease and desist such practices and restore the rule of law. We also call on the government to apologise to the journalists for their outrageous and baseless actions that violate press freedom.
Issued on behalf of the HAKAM Executive Committee