KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 ― The Attorney-General’s suggestion that journalists sue politicians who lie about being misquoted does not protect the media from police investigations when they are instead accused of inaccuracy, a press freedom group said.
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) highlighted the case of Malaysiakini reporter Kow Gah Chie, who is being investigated under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for allegedly causing public mischief after Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) politician Dr Annuar Rapaee accused the journalist of taking his speech at a recent seminar in Sibu, Sarawak, out of context.
“While CIJ welcomes the AG’s acceptance of the reality of politicians lying about being misquoted, his solution seems topsy-turvy,” CIJ director Sonia Randhawa told Malay Mail Online recently.
“The onus should be on politicians to take action against false news reports, rather than on journalists to take action against politicians. This ignores how journalists rely on politicians as news sources.
“Further, in the recent case where a politician accused a journalist of lying, the journalist faced the threat of a police investigation. The proposed solution would not protect journalists from this threat,” she added.
AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali reportedly said at a recent talk that media outlets should take legal action against politicians who falsely claim to be misquoted or who renege on their own remarks, as this would hold public figures accountable. Read more