Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Malaysia 9 August 2007

Government continues to harass bloggers

Reporters Without Borders today condemned continuing government harassment of bloggers and their families after Marine Lee, the wife of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, was questioned by police in a Kuala Lumpur police station yesterday about her husband’s Malaysia Today website.

Lee told the police that, as a Muslim woman under Sharia law, she could only speak if her husband allowed her to do so. The ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) filed a complaint against Raja Petra on 23 July about an 11 July article considered insulting to the king.


25.07 - Government goes to war against bloggers using arrests and interrogation

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a recent wave of online censorship and harassment of outspoken bloggers as Malaysia approaches its national holiday on 31 August and gears up for early elections at the start of next year.

“Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s government is the target of mounting criticism and its response seems to be repression,” the press freedom organisation said. “Citing the need to combat attempts to incite racial hatred or insult the king, the internal security ministry is trying to intimidate dissidents, especially dissident bloggers.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “It is outrageous to see a minister threatening to jail bloggers who have managed to create an unprecedented space for free expression in Malaysia. We call for charges to be dropped against bloggers Raja Petra Kamarudin, Nathaniel Tan, Ahiruddin Attan and Jeff Ooi. At the same time, the national press must be allowed real editorial independence.”

Malaysia was placed 92nd out of 168 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders ranking of nations according to respect for press freedom.

Nazri Abdul Aziz, who holds the position of minister in the Prime Minister’s Department with responsibility for justice, said yesterday that the government would not hesitate to use the Internal Security Act against bloggers who tackle sensitive issues. Under the ISA, someone who is deemed to have threatened state security can be held without trial for two years. Aziz added that the government had until now been “very patient.”

Science and technology minister Kong Cho Ha warned last December that the government planned to introduce regulations designed to prevent “ill-intentioned” use of the Internet and the posting of information by bloggers that harmed Malaysia’s “social harmony.”

Political commentator and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (also known as RPK) was interrogated for eight hours today by police about articles he recently posted online, including one entitled “See you in hell Muhamad son of Muhamad.” He was also asked about the identity of people who had posted comments about his articles. The summons for questioning was the result of a complaint brought against him on 23 July by the ruling United Malays National Organisation.

Kamarudin, who edits the independent website Malaysia Today, posted an article on 11 July that is deemed to be an insult to the king and incitement to racial hatred. He claims to be read by more than 300,000 people a day and is known for criticising Prime Minister Badawi and other politicians. He faces a possible three-year prison sentence.

Blogger Nathaniel Tan, a member of the opposition Justice Party (PKR), was released on 17 July after being held for four days. Local sources said he was detained because his blog contained a link to a website with information about a corruption case involving internal security minister Johari Bharum. The information was deemed to be a violation of the Official Secrets Act.

Last January, the management and former editors of the New Straits Times daily sued two outspoken bloggers, Jeff Ooi and Ahiruddin Attan, over articles they had posted which argued, with the help of detailed examples, that some of its reports and editorials lacked objectivity.




In this country
11 May - Malaysia
Human rights lawyer P. Uthayakumar freed
24 March - Malaysia
Government bans two opposition party newspapers for three months
17 February - Malaysia
“Your Majesty, do everything in your power to prevent any judicial error”
11 February - Malaysia
Two court cases test online free expression
10 November - Malaysia
Two journalists and a blogger arrested as police violently break up rally

in the annual report
Malaysia - Annual report 2008
Malaysia - Annual report 2007

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised