PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali's proposal to review penalties for offences under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 is not aimed at journalists, says the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The journalists' rights group said the proposal was only aimed at whistle-blowers whom the Government deemed could "affect the security and stability of the country".
In a statement, the NUJ said that it had sought the A-G's clarification on the matter during a one-hour meeting at his office in Putrajaya Wednesday morning.
The NUJ also said Apandi also said it was merely a proposal and had not been finalised yet.
It was previously reported that the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) was looking into amending the OSA to punish those who leak official secrets, including civil servants, the public and media practitioners who refuse to disclose their sources.
He had said the punishment included the possibility of life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan.
Apandi also gave assurance that the proposed amendment would not affect the profession, as journalists would still have the freedom to write reports, while adhering to their code of ethics.
"Hence, journalists do not have to worry about the proposed amendment," said the NUJ.
The NUJ also said that they had submitted a 10-point memorandum to the AGC, calling on them to protect the rights of journalists so they would be able to report news without fear of being penalised.
The NUJ said the A-G reminded journalists to determine if information obtained was confidential Government documents or otherwise.
They also voiced concerns that widespread leakage of Government information, especially by those who are not registered nor those who do not adhere to a professional code of ethics would "contaminate" the profession," said the NUJ.