Raid on Al Jazeera: Cease assault on media freedom

Image: Geralt/Pixabay

Aliran calls on the government to cease further harassment of Al Jazeera following its controversial investigative documentary, Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown, which highlighted the alleged mistreatment of migrant workers.

Police raided Al Jazeera’s Kuala Lumpur office as well as the offices of Astro and Unifi TV, which also broadcast the documentary.

This media crackdown will have a chilling effect on media freedom in Malaysia and nurture an insidious culture of self-censorship. It will also erode the people’s freedom of expression, especially when their critical views are not in line with the official narrative. The right to dissent has also been criminalised, which is undemocratic.

Using a sledgehammer approach against media reporting that the state considers flawed is obviously excessive. Instead, the government ought to present facts and figures to counter what the documentary revealed.

Ordinary Malaysians are eager to know the truth. But intimidating the media in this way does nothing to get us any closer to the truth.

The government’s repressive moves of late have an Orwellian flavour, which can also be seen in the planned revival of Putrajaya’s propaganda unit, the Special Affairs Department (Jasa).

Malaysia must move forward towards greater democracy instead of regressing into a regime of hidden truths and propaganda.

Aliran executive committee
5 August 2020
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