Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) condemns the reported attack on Tamil Malar newspaper’s office along Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, believed to involve a group of MIC Youth members.
According to Malaysiakini, the group had gathered to protest the Tamil-daily’s report which they claimed to be “pro-opposition”.
In the incident, Tamil Malar journalist C Christ claimed that the newspaper’s owner OMS Thiagaran and chief executive editor Saraswathy Kandasamy were assaulted and injured.
Also at the scene was Deputy Youth and Sports Minister M Saravanan, who was quoted by Malaysiakini as denying claims that the MIC Youth had launched an attack against Tamil Malar and its staff.
In a statement, Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran claimed that the incident was triggered by unhappiness over Tamil Malar’s expose of allegations that implicated Saravanan and the Federal Territories MIC youth chief.
It also important to note that the incident followed two other similar attacks against Tamil Malar staff last month, also allegedly due to reports unfavourable to the MIC.
Geramm hereby condemns the actions of any individual who resorts to using physical violence as a protest against any media report.
Any dissatisfaction should be raised through the proper channels, exercising a right to respond or via existing legal means.
It should also be pointed out that the media have a duty in a democracy to carry out our duties unhindered and without fear.
Pressure from political parties on the media, particularly if it involves physical violence, is completely unacceptable.
The media are not the enemy of any political party. But at the same time, the media are also not partners that can be bought or bullied.
Geramm would like to urge all our friends from the Tamil and Chinese vernacular press to unite in solidarity against individuals or parties out to use the media for their own benefit.
Such incidents of assault against the media should not be allowed to continue happening without attention or investigation by the relevant authorities.
Geramm is a loose coalition of journalists, media representatives and activists who are fighting for freedom of the press and its practitioners.