Don't beat up journalists
This petition had 2,765 supporters
JOURNALISTS REPORT VIOLENT ASSAULTS AND INTIMIDATION BY POLICE
Some 14 Malaysian journalists covering a mass public rally for electoral reforms on April 28 reported being violently assaulted by police or intimidation under threat of violence. Cameras were confiscated or damaged during these assaults. Under threat of violence by police, reporters and photographers were made to erase photographic images of police action against protestors. Several data storage cards were removed.
More than 300 journalists have personally signed a petition to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Inspector-General of Police. The petition has been supported by the National Union of Journalists Peninsular Malaysia representing 1,472 members, and by more than 2,700 people online at Change.org
Please support freedom of the press in Malaysia, and the safety of journalists on duty, by supporting this petition.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Minister of Home Affairs, and
Inspector-General of Police
3 MAY 2012
Dear Prime Minister,
PETITION BY MEMBERS OF THE JOURNALISM FRATERNITY OF MALAYSIA
The journalism fraternity of Malaysia is deeply shocked and saddened by the unprecedented injuries and distress caused to news reporters and photographers on duty on Saturday April 28, 2012, and calls on the Government to take immediate action to provide redress.
Our colleagues have reported being arrested and assaulted by members of the police, suffered loss or damage to photographic equipment, and were subjected to harassment through intimidation and interference in carrying out their duties.
We are outraged by this violent and targetted assault on members of our community which contradicts your government's stated intention to strengthen press freedom.
On World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2012, members of the journalism community gathered at the National Press Club in Kuala Lumpur and adopted a resolution to urge the Government, as represented by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Home Affairs, and the Inspector-General of Police to:
MAKE a full public apology to all journalists for injuries and distress caused while carrying out their duties, and provide full restitution of equipment damaged or lost, and adequate compensation;
CONDUCT an immediate, independent and impartial inquiry into the events of April 28, 2012, and bring to justice all those responsible for violence against journalists;
TAKE all measures to ensure the safety of journalists covering public events;
ENSURE that journalists are not hampered by the authorities or subjected to interference or intimidation aimed at curtailing their ability to provide the Malaysian people with full and fair reports of current events.
We look to the Government of Malaysia to honour its responsibilities and act in good faith and with urgency to address these concerns and to restore the trust that journalists have placed on the authorities to act fairly and impartially.
An attack on journalists is an attack on freedom of the press. There can be no freedom of the press without the freedom to report fully, impartially, and safely.
Members of the journalism fraternity of Malaysia gathered at the National Press Club, Kuala Lumpur, on World Press Freedom Day, 3rd May 2012
on behalf of
A Asohan, Aishah Ali, Anis Ibrahim, Anuradha Kahappan, Asrul Hadi, Beh Yuen Hui, Brigitte Joanne Rozario, Chong Cheng Hai, Chong Lip Teck, Deborah Loh, Dorairaj Nadason, Esther Chandran, Gan Pei Ling, Goh Xi Ning (Gabey), Hazlan Zakaria, Isabella Lai, Jacqueline Ann Surin, Joanne Timbuong, Johabar Sadiq, Joseph Sipalan, K Pragalath, K.H. Lim, Lam Seng Fatt, Leong Hon Yuen, Lim Teng Kiang, Lim Wey Wen, Linda Archibald, Lisa Goh, Loo Sim Ee, Maria J Dass, Marica van Wynen, Meena Lakshana, Meng Yew Choong, Natalie Heng, Nuraidila Abdul Razak, Nurbaiti Hamdan, Pauline Leong, Premesh Chandran, Priyatharisiny Vasu, Regina Lee, Salhan K Ahmad, Selvayoga M Selvaratnam, Shah A Dadameah, Shaila Koshy, Sharaad Kuttan, Sheila Rahman, Shufiyan b Shukor, Siew Nyoke Chow, Steven Gan, Tan Lee Chin, Tan Wooi Kian, Teh Eng Hock, Usha Devi, Vijhay Vick, Woon Zheng Yang, Yogeswary A, Yuen Neikeng, Zakiah Koya
Chan Hui Jun, Chong Hong Seng, Chor Chew Kang, Chow Hooi Sin, Easen Teoh Yang Sheong, Khoo Kok Eng, Kok Chee Wei, Kok Jih Wei, Kok Su Chen, Kuik Cheng Kang, Lai Pooi Fung, Leong Kok Wah, Liew Fong Wai, Lim Teck Seng, Ng Sheay Horng, Siau Mion Fatt, Siew Nyoke Chow, Tai Siew Kim, Tan Char Di, Tan Chong Wei, Tan Hai Poh, Tan Yoke Ngoh, Tan Yong Seng, Tee How Huat, Tee Teck Huat, Teo Beng Kuang, Teo Wee Ping, Yap Wai Cheong
Beh Ai Lee, Boh Pui Kee, Chai Zong Huan, Chang David, Chek Swee Kee, Chew Bee Sun, Chew Pee Kean, Chia Bee Ling, Chong Keat Siong, Chong King Lock, Chong Siew Fun, Chung Chyong Shiang, Chung Kum Piew, Fanny Ling Jing Cheong, Gan Bee Hui, Hii Hiong Siong, Ho Chin Chin, Hong Kok Chuan, Koh Boon Keong, Lai Han Xuan, Lam Ping Ping, Lee Ching Leng, Leong Ying Siew, Liew Keng Yee, Lim Beng Hui, Lim Lek Peng, Lim Siew Mei, Lim Yuen Sweet, Loo Siew Wan, Low Shaw Keat, Loy Peng Fai, Ng Meng Chong, Ng Phoi Hoong, Pow Hsaio Yaan, Siaw Lee Yen, Tan Ann Kee, Tan Hui Chen, Tan Thena Teng, Tan Xiao Ren, Tay Chee Keong, Tee Seow Ooi, Teh Seik Ling, Thong Siew Li, Ting Su Ing, Tneh Khim Liang, Wong Lai Chui, Wong Phui Yee, Wong Siew Yee, Yap Chai Hoon, Yap Nget Mee, Yip Pey Yng
The National Union of Journalists Peninsular Malaysia
Representing a total of 1,472 journalists
Chin Sung Chew, President
V. Anbalagan, General Secretary
30 APRIL 2012
JOINT STATEMENT CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AND INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS
We, members of the journalistic fraternity of Malaysia, appalled by the attacks on journalists covering the mass public rally on the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday April 28, and by restrictions on coverage of the rally in the media,
CONDEMN the use of intimidation and violence against journalists,
CONDEMN all actions preventing journalists and the media from providing full, fair and accurate accounts of events that are of concern to Malaysian citizens,
CONDEMN the action of media organisations in withholding reports or being complicit in a news blackout of attacks on journalists,
CALL FOR immediate and firm action by the Government of Malaysia, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Royal Malaysia Police against all those involved in these acts of violence and intimidation to prevent journalists from carrying out their duty and depriving Malaysian citizens of fair, full and accurate accounts; and
CALL UPON the Government of Malaysia, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Royal Malaysia Police to give their assurance of firm action to protect the right of all journalists to cover public events without fear of violence and intimidation, and without interference from the authorities.
According to published reports and information from our colleagues:
One journalist suffered head injuries when attacked by the crowd;
One journalist, assaulted by police, was feared to have suffered broken ribs
Several journalists reported being atacked by police
A female journalist was manhandled by several male police
Photographic equipment was smashed or destroyed
Data storage cards of journalists' cameras were removed and destroyed
Journalists were ordered not to take photographs of police action
The action by members of the police force, apparently acting on orders, or "arahan dari atas", was taken directly against journalists engaged in carrying out their duties and clearly aimed at preventing journalists from reporting accurately on events that they witnessed, and in several cases to specifically prevent them from reporting on police action to disperse the rally.
These actions on the ground are in direct contradiction of the Malaysian Government's declarations of respect of the rights of journalists and the mass media, and of the Government's intention to carry out reforms for a vibrant Malaysia media that will hold its place in the world media community.
We wish to remind the authorities that It is the duty of all journalists and of the media to provide full, fair and accurate reports and keep citizens informed of current issues that are of concern. Violence and intimidation are acts of censorship to prevent public knowledge of these events.
We urge the Malaysian Government, and especially the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Royal Malaysia Police, to live up to their responsibilities to safeguard the role of the media in carrying out their duty to inform the Malaysian people, and to ensure that journalists are able to report freely without intimidation and interference, especially from the authorities.
Asohan Aryaduray, Chong Cheng Hai, Deborah Loh, Gobind Rudra, Jacqueline Ann Surin, Jahabar Sadiq, K Kabilan, KLChan, Premesh Chandran, Steven Gan
References - published accounts:
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