Friday, Sep 25, 2020 | Last Update : 03:06 AM IST

184th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra126379995603033015 Andhra Pradesh6543855794745410 Tamil Nadu5636915082108871 Karnataka5485574446588331 Uttar Pradesh3588932895945135 Delhi2492592133045014 West Bengal2283021989834421 Odisha184122149379763 Telangana1792461481391070 Bihar169856155824870 Assam159320129130578 Kerala13863398720554 Gujarat1247671051913337 Rajasthan116881972841352 Haryana113075908841177 Madhya Pradesh108167836182007 Punjab99930754092860 Chhatisgarh8618347653680 Jharkhand7267358543626 Jammu and Kashmir65026421151024 Uttarakhand4177729000501 Goa2875322726360 Puducherry2319118065467 Tripura2227215441245 Himachal Pradesh124387836125 Chandigarh102987411123 Manipur9010683859 Arunachal Pradesh7385540813 Nagaland5544445110 Meghalaya4733252838 Sikkim2447190529 Mizoram158510120
  World   Asia  05 Aug 2020  Malaysia police raid Al Jazeera's office, seize computers

Malaysia police raid Al Jazeera's office, seize computers

REUTERS
Published : Aug 5, 2020, 10:21 am IST
Updated : Aug 5, 2020, 10:21 am IST

Al Jazeera said the raid was 'an attack on press freedom as a whole' and urged Malaysian authorities to cease the criminal investigation

 Australian Al Jazeera journalist, reporter/senior producer Drew Ambrose, right, leaves the Bukit Aman police headquarters after being questioned by the Malaysian police over a documentary about the country's arrests of undocumented migrants, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP)
  Australian Al Jazeera journalist, reporter/senior producer Drew Ambrose, right, leaves the Bukit Aman police headquarters after being questioned by the Malaysian police over a documentary about the country's arrests of undocumented migrants, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP)

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police raided the office of news broadcaster Al Jazeera and two local TV stations on Tuesday, seizing computers as part of an investigation into a documentary on undocumented migrants that enraged the government.

Al Jazeera, a Qatari-state owned broadcaster, said in a statement that police seized two computers during the raid, which it called a “troubling escalation” in a government crackdown on media freedom. It urged Malaysian authorities to cease the criminal investigation.

 

Police opened an investigation last month into the Al Jazeera documentary on the treatment of undocumented migrants after officials complained it was inaccurate and biased. Seven Al Jazeera staff members have been grilled by police as part of the probe for alleged sedition, defamation and violating the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Police obtained court warrants to search the offices of Al Jazeera as well as local broadcasters Astro and Unifitv, criminal investigation chief Huzir Mohamed said in a statement. The two local TV stations had reportedly aired the video.

Huzir said the raids were conducted jointly with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, which is also investigating the stations.

 

He said police seized computers which will be sent for further analysis and took statements from witnesses during the raids. “No individual or entity will be spared from action if they have violated the law,” he said.

Al Jazeera said the raid was “an attack on press freedom as a whole” and urged Malaysian authorities to cease the criminal investigation.

“Conducting a raid on our office and seizing computers is a troubling escalation in the authorities’ crackdown on media freedom and shows the lengths they are prepared to take to try to intimidate journalists,” said Giles Trendle, managing director of Al Jazeera English.

 

“Al Jazeera stands by our journalists and we stand by our reporting. Our staff did their jobs and they’ve got nothing to answer for or apologize for. Journalism is not a crime,” he said.

The documentary, titled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown,” investigated undocumented immigrants it said were at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 2,000 migrant workers were arrested during raids in areas in Kuala Lumpur that were placed under tight virus lockdowns.

Malaysian authorities also detained a Bangladeshi man interviewed in the documentary after revoking his work permit, and said they will deport him for criticizing the government over its handling of undocumented migrants.

 

“The authorities’ relentless pursuit of Al Jazeera seems to be driven by a desire to punish journalists who aired Malaysia’s dirty laundry rather than a good faith application of the law,” said Matthew Bugher, head of the Asia program of British-based rights group ARTICLE 19.

He said Malaysia should investigate the rights violations shown in the documentary instead of targeting the filmmakers.

Rights activists have voiced concern over a clampdown on freedom of speech and media independence under new Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who took power in March.

Astro was recently fined for airing an Al Jazeera documentary in 2015 about the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman that allegedly contained “offensive content.”

 

Popular online news portal Malaysiakini and its editor face rare contempt proceedings from the attorney general over comments posted by readers against the judiciary. Police also questioned an activist about a social media post alleging mistreatment of refugees at immigration detention centers.

A journalist from the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post was also questioned earlier about her reporting on migrant arrests.

Tags: al jazeera documentary, undocumented migrants, malaysian police, migrant crisis in malaysia