Al Jazeera staff grilled in Malaysia over report on migrant arrests


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, Friday, July 10, 2020. Malaysian police grilled a group of reporters and staff from news broadcaster Al Jazeera on Friday over a documentary on the treatment of undocumented immigrants that officials have slammed as unfair and biased. National police chief said the documentary aired earlier this month had sparked public anger, and an initial probe showed it was inaccurate and depicted the country in a negative light. - AP

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 (Reuters): Malaysian police questioned six employees of broadcaster Al Jazeera on Friday over a documentary on the arrest of undocumented migrants that authorities said was inaccurate, misleading and unfair.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera said it stood by the professionalism, quality and impartiality of its journalism.

Rights groups have raised concerns over crackdowns on media freedom under Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's government, which came to power in March, as well as rising anger toward foreigners, who have been accused of spreading the novel coronavirus and being a burden on state resources.

The Al Jazeera staff were called in after authorities determined a documentary contained elements that could be investigated under a sedition, criminal and communications law, national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador told reporters.

"They are coming in as witnesses, not suspects," Abdul Hamid said, adding that the attorney-general's office would decide on any further action.

Al Jazeera called on Malaysia to withdraw the criminal investigation.

"Charging journalists for doing their jobs is not the action of a democracy that values free speech. Journalism is not a crime," it said in a statement.

The prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The documentary, "Locked up in Malaysia's Lockdown", aired by the station's 101 East news programme last week, focused on the plight of undocumented migrants detained during coronavirus lockdowns.

Al Jazeera said it had repeatedly sought the government's view but requests for interviews with ministers and officials were not accepted.

Despite this, it said it had produced a balanced film by including comments made by the defence minister at two news conferences.

Al Jazeera said its staff and those interviewed in the documentary had faced abuse, death threats and the disclosure of their personal details on social media.

Abdul Hamid said he would ensure that the media would be protected and allowed to operate freely. - Reuters
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 0
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Aseanplus News

Home favourite Jonathan Christie and South Korea's An win Indonesia Masters singles titles
Asean News Headlines at 9pm on Sunday (Jan 29, 2023)
Foreigners impressed with Penang’s diverse culture during celebration to pay homage to Jade Emperor
Tennis-Emotional Djokovic hails biggest victory of his life
Singapore PM Lee to meet Malaysian PM Anwar during his visit to the republic beginning Monday (Jan 30)
Indonesia to start rolling out Covid-19 vaccination for children under six
Philippines greenlights LNG project as domestic reserves shrink
US trade shifts on Covid and China tensions, but no 'decoupling' yet; Vietnam now a major attraction
Malaysian police liaise with Cambodia's Preah Sihanouk police over trafficking cases
Laos Kapok Festival draws in the crowds to admire trees in bloom

Others Also Read