The Centre for Independent Journalism warmly welcomes the Malaysian government’s decision to co-sponsor United Nations resolution A/HRC/RES/39/6 on the safety of journalists.
Malaysia’s co-sponsorship of this important resolution is a start in fulfilling the Pakatan Harapan manifesto promise to make Malaysia’s human rights record respected by the world.
The UN resolution was adopted without a vote by the 39th meeting of the Human Rights Council on 29 September 2018. Malaysia’s support for this resolution reverses a long-standing trend of remaining silent on resolutions on freedom of expression and puts it at the forefront of South East Asian nations when it comes to statements on impunity for attacks on journalists.
The resolution includes provisions on the need to ensure media freedom is protected during operations to combat terrorism, calls upon states to tackle gender-based discrimination against women journalists and draws attention to the role of non-state actors.
The resolution also makes calls which have specific relevance to the Malaysian government. In particular, the resolution calls for the reform of defamation laws and for protection for whistleblowers as well as generally upholding a framework for freedom of expression.
Thus, CIJ looks forward to the imminent repeal of both the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act; the reform, with broad consultation, of the Communications and Multimedia Act; and the implementation of a substantive Freedom of Information Act.