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Saturday September 22, 2012

Malaysiakini admits to receiving foreign funds

PETALING JAYA: Malaysiakini has admitted to receiving grants from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and other international donors and that it had links with Suaram.

The online portal's chief executive officer, Premesh Chandran, claimed that despite receiving grants from international donors, their editorial independence was not compromised.

“We are happy to work with international foundations on interesting projects to promote press freedom.

“We are transparent about such partnerships. These grants form a small part of Malaysiakini's budget,” he said, adding that the portal was 70% owned by its co-founders and staff.

Premesh said this in a statement in response to media reports following controversy over funding provided by Washington-based NED to human rights group such

as Suaram and a host of other or-ganisations, including Malaysiakini.

Premesh said they also raised funds from international donors to support its Southeast Asia Centre for E-Media (Seacem) and other projects.

Malaysiakini initiated Seacem in 2004 to help civil society and

fledgling online media organisations in Asia to use new technologies to promote press freedom, human rights and democracy, he said.

Seacem was also hired to build a human rights portal for eight key regional organisations, in which Suaram is the Malaysian partner, he said.

In PUTRAJAYA, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein cautioned that the involvement of foreign funding in local non-governmental organisations would have a repercussion on the independence and safety of the country.

“We have been monitoring the movements of foreign funds into the country and also (the movement) of certain leaders on security aspect,” he said yesterday.

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