Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Malaysia 28 February 2002

RSF calls on the Secretary General of ASEAN to intervene in favour of free circulation of information

In a letter sent to the Secretary General of ASEAN, Rodolfo Certeza Severino Jr, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières - RSF) expressed its concern about the increase in censorship and intimidation against foreign publications in ASEAN member countries. "The integration and economic development in Southeast Asia that your organisation defends also depends on the free circulation of information," said the general secretary of RSF, Robert Ménard. RSF also asked Mr. Severino to intervene with the prime ministers of Thailand and Malaysia to help stop the restrictive measures taken against the magazines Far Eastern Economic Review, The Economist, Newsweek and Time as soon as possible.

According to information obtained by RSF, Chor Chee Heung, Malaysia’s deputy minister of the interior, stated that the government had decided to block or delay the distribution of the latest issues of the international magazines Newsweek, Far Eastern Economic Review, The Economist and Time. The minister said that this measure followed the publication, in these magazines, of "erroneous news about the situation in the country", especially concerning the presence of members of al Qaeda in Malaysia. The Economist was probably sanctioned for publishing an article on the situation of immigrant workers in Malaysia.

At the same time in Thailand, the government decided to expel Shawn Crispin and Rodney Tasker, two journalists with the Far Eastern Economic Review based in Bangkok. After the government added their names to a list of "undesirable" foreigners, immigration officials confiscated their passports and revoked their visas. They were threatened with expulsion, but their lawyer has appealed. Shawn Crispin and Rodney Tasker, respectively American and English, are not allowed to work until a final decision is handed down in 30 days. After asking them to apologize for "insulting" the king, the government of Thaksin Shinawatra threatened to prosecute the two journalists for endangering "national security". The prime minister asked the American ambassador to not interfere in this "internal affair".

After this decision was announced, many organisations and personalities asked the Bangkok government to reverse the decision. On 28 February, Thai senators considered that the article, published on 10 January, was not critical to the king, and that there was no reason to expel the two journalists.

Since early 2002, the government has regularly harassed the Far Eastern Economic Review, blaming it for publishing articles about the difficult relations between the prime minister and the king of Thailand.




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