Law needed to protect media practitioners, says Geramm

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) has urged for a law to protect media practitioners when performing their duties.

The activist group said Saturday's (May 14) incident of a security guard who allegedly threatened and intimidated reporters surveying long queues at the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Pudu Sentral highlighted the need for a law to ensure the safety of the media.

ALSO READ: No criminal element in security guard assaulting reporter case, say police

"The formulation of any law should be based on journalism ethics and principles.

"It is the responsibility of the media to comply with ethical principles in the field, including introducing themselves as journalists, withholding the identity of individuals or sources when necessary, and providing accountability over accusations,” Geramm said in a Facebook post on Monday (May 16).

However, the group said any obstruction of the media in carrying out their duties, including physical or verbal aggression, should be treated as an offence and punishable.

ALSO READ: Security guard yelled at everyone, not just journalists, says former Suhakam commissioner

“We also stress that any issue involving journalistic work and ethics should be managed by an independent media council,” it said.

Earlier, Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Noor Dellhan Yahaya said the police found no criminal element in the alleged harassment case and assault of a news portal reporter by a security guard at a government installation.

He said the case has been classified as "refer to the magistrate".

ALSO READ: Media should be protected as they work for the public good, say media groups

"We will not pursue the matter further as there is no criminal element discovered.

"The aggrieved party can take up the matter to the magistrate should they wish to pursue a civil suit," he said.

"We will issue a form to the complainant to take up the matter to the court," he added.

On Saturday, a disagreement between news portal reporters and a security guard at a UTC led to police reports being lodged.

The Vibes tweeted that two of their reporters had been harassed by a security guard at the Pudu UTC, when they were covering a story regarding the long lines for passport renewals.

In the video shown, a security guard can be seen telling both reporters to leave immediately and to stop filming, before shouting in anger.

The video ends after the guard is seen snatching the handphone of one of the reporters.

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