AG questions M’sia’s world press freedom ranking

Source: FMT News

No country has absolute press freedom, says Apandi Ali.

KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney-General Apandi Ali has questioned the World Press Freedom Index 2016 report by Reporters Without Borders, which has placed Malaysia at 146th place out of 180 countries.

“Our firmness in shaping our media’s freedom according to our own mould has been misunderstood by the international community as being indicative of a country that does not hold to democratic principles based on human rights,” Apandi said at a luncheon talk with editors and members of the media here today.

Apandi said according to the World Press Freedom Index, Malaysia’s global score had dropped from 43.29 to 46.57 points this year. According to Reporters Without Borders’ score system, a smaller score indicates greater freedom of the press.

He noted that Reporters Without Borders had reported last year that two-thirds of the countries studied, including the United States and Singapore, had experienced drops in press freedom.

“Taking that into consideration, does this really reflect the level of press freedom in Malaysia?” . Read more

Gov’t reacts improperly to a bad report card – Saleh Mohammed

Source: FMT News

BY SALEH MOHAMMED

Wisma Putra was too emotional and defensive in its reaction to the US report on human rights practices.

Wisma Putra’s reaction to Washington’s 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices was predictable. It said the report on Malaysia was biased and baseless and that the US had been ignoring Malaysia’s sovereign right to its internal affairs. It complained that the report was “prepared in the absence of any formal engagement with government officials despite the close bilateral relations between Malaysia and the US.”

The report highlighted, among other things, government restrictions on freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of association. It expressed particular concern over police intimidation and sedition charges against activists, lawyers and opposition politicians.

Should Wisma Putra have loaded the heap and been so defensive? Our only defence was that “Malaysia will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure that all citizens enjoy fundamental rights without prejudice to the rights of others or threats to the security and stability of the country.”

If there were formal engagements between government officials, what lines of defence do you think the Malaysian officials would have taken? Read more

Lawyers cry police intimidation in Penal Code probe on reporter on Sarawak duty

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan says the police intimidation was an ‘overkill’ and urged the police to stop their ‘bully boy tactics’. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 ― The police went overboard by investigating a journalist under the Penal Code for allegedly misquoting a Barisan Nasional (BN) politician in her report, several lawyers said.

Prominent lawyer and human rights activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan called the act an “overkill” and urged the police to stop their “bully boy tactics”.

“This is an overkill and wholly unnecessary. If they are unhappy about the report they can always write in to the media outlet,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

She said the recent banning of opposition politicians from entering Sarawak ahead of the state elections has now spilled over to a “harassment of the press.”

“These bully boy tactics must stop,” she added. Read more