PETALING JAYA: A group of individuals and civil society organisations, including the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), have urged the government to drop all investigations against Al Jazeera and their interviewees.
In a joint statement on Wednesday (July 8), CIJ said it was "deeply concerning" that the immediate reaction by the authorities upon the screening of the Al Jazeera documentary was to initiate police investigation on their alleged unfavourable reporting rather than providing the public with an explanation or calling for an internal probe into potential mismanagement of power.
The statement was signed by 35 civil society organisation, which includes, among others, Amnesty International Malaysia, Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm), Tenaganita, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Aliran and Bersih 2.0.
Notable individuals like lawyer Andrew Khoo and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member S. Arutchelvan also signed the statement.
Al Jazeera aired the documentary,"Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown", on July 3, which accused the Malaysian government of arresting illegal immigrants using public health and safety concerns as an excuse.
The government responded by hitting out at Al Jazeera for airing what it claimed was false news about Malaysia.
After the programme was aired, the Immigration Department has been looking for the immigrants interviewed on the programme.
The police, too, have said that those behind the documentary, including the reporter, would be called to assist in investigations.