Putrajaya told to drop activist’s criminal case on showing Sri Lanka documentary

Source: The Malay Mail Online

The Star reported that the High Court reversed yesterday the acquittal of Lena Hendry (centre), who was charged under the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening ‘No Fire Zone’ without approval from the Censorship Board, and ordered her to enter her defence. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

The Star reported that the High Court reversed yesterday the acquittal of Lena Hendry (centre), who was charged under the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening ‘No Fire Zone’ without approval from the Censorship Board, and ordered her to enter her defence. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 ― The Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Malaysia today to end the prosecution of activist Lena Hendry for illegally screening a documentary on war crimes in Sri Lanka.

The global human rights group said criminalising the screening of films without government approval imposed a “disproportionate” burden on the right to freedom of expression.

“Prosecuting Lena Hendry for the private showing of an award-winning film is all part of the Malaysia government’s intensified intimidation, harassment, and criminalisation of human rights defenders,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW, said in a statement.

“The government should end Hendry’s three-year ordeal by dropping the charges and then promptly amending the Film Censorship Act so no other activists face prison just for showing a movie,” he added.

Local daily The Star reported that the High Court here reversed yesterday the acquittal of Hendry, who was charged under the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening “No Fire Zone” without approval from the Censorship Board, and ordered her to enter her defence. Read more

Court reverses Hendry’s acquittal order

Source: The Star Online

Pic taken from FMT News

Lena Hendry (centre), after Magistrate Mohd Rehab Mohd Aris, had ruled to acquit her last March. Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has set aside an acquittal order for activist Lena Hendry and ordered her to enter her defence over the charge of screening a documentary that had not been approved by the Censorship Board.

In reversing the acquittal order Wednesday, Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Shariff Abu Samah found that there was a prima facie case against Hendry.

He ordered Hendry to enter her defence before the magistrate’s court where she had been charged.

Hendry’s lawyer Edmund Bon said they will fight the case till the end and believe they have a strong defence.

“It is a documentary talk about human rights violation in another country,” he told reporters later.

He said the DPP would write to the magistrate’s court to get a case management date.

“We will deal on the issue of her bail in the magistrate’s court,” he added.

Previously, Hendry’s bail was set at RM1,000 but it was returned to her after her acquittal in March.

Magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris had held that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against Hendry.

A total of eight prosecution witnesses were called to give evidence in the five-day trial. Read more

The information is ours to judge — R. Nadeswaran

Source: The Sundaily

BY R. NADESWARAN

JOURNALISTS are often reminded that, like a coin, there are two sides to a story. “Get the other side to comment on the story,” editors would scream. When there is no response, the story will include these immortal words: “He declined to comment”.

On June 25 last year, no Malaysian knew the name Xavier Justo, a Swiss businessman. In a series of reports, the media painted him as a greedy, ruthless and cold-blooded blackmailer.

The NST trumpeted his arrest by the Thai police in an exclusive report which it said had the country talking and “followed by newspapers and online media around the world”.

Nirmal Gosh of the Singapore Straits Times, who was the first to interview Justo, claimed the “difficulty of gaining access to the man” and that he had to “call the Thai police every day, sometimes twice a day”. But there’s another side to this as we would learn later.

Justo “confessed” to having met several people and was the “bad boy” in wanting to “topple a democratically elected government”.

In subsequent reports and analyses, newspapers used his “confession” to pooh-pooh the many assertions made by the foreign media. Read more

Freedom of the Press Index: Press freedom declined to its lowest point in 12 years in 2015

Source: Asian Correspondent

Source: Freedom House

Source: Freedom House

TODAY marks the observance of World Press Freedom Day, which only serves to highlight the sobering fact that last year saw the global level of press freedom sink to its lowest point in 12 years, according to the Freedom of the Press 2016 index.

The index was released as part of the Freedom of the Press 2016 report, which put the global average score for press freedom at 48.9 – its lowest since 2003.

The annual report, which is published by U.S.-based non-profit Freedom House, went on to say that only 13 percent of world’s population enjoys free press; while 41 percent had partly free press, and 46 percent had no free press.

The report’s director of research, Jennifer Dunham, said that journalists around the world are facing an increasingly hostile media environment, be it through oppressive laws, pressure from governments and corporate entities, or physical endangerment.

“Governments used security or anti-terrorism laws as a pretext to silence critical voices, militant groups and criminal gangs used increasingly brazen tactics to intimidate journalists, and media owners attempted to manipulate news content to serve their political or business interests,” she said. Read more