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Friday February 10, 2006

Tribune suspended

LAST EDITION: A reader reading the Sarawak Tribune during his coffee break at Satok in Kuching yesterday.
KUALA LUMPUR: The permit of The Sarawak Press Sdn Bhd, publisher of Sarawak Tribune, has been suspended immediately until further notice over its publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad last Saturday. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the Internal Security Minister, announced the decision yesterday – a day after the Cabinet discussed the daily’s reproduction of the caricatures that were published by several newspapers in Europe. 

At the meeting, all the Cabinet members described the reproduction as an irresponsible and insensitive act that warranted stern action. 

The Internal Security Ministry, in a statement, said the suspension was made under Sub-section 6(2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Act 301. 

“The decision was made following the action of its newspaper, Sarawak Tribune, dated Feb 4, 2006, to publish an article titled Cartoon not much impact here which also accompanied a caricature of Prophet Muhammad,” the statement said.  

“As a result of publishing the article, The Sarawak Press Sdn Bhd has committed an offence and breached paragraph 6 of the conditions for the permit issued to it under Sub-section 6 (1) of the said Act. 

The statement also stated that the Internal Security Minister had issued a blanket ban on all the offending caricatures and the Feb 4 edition of the Sarawak Tribune

The blanket ban, which also takes effect immediately, makes it an offence to print, import, produce, circulate, distribute or possess the offending materials. 

The prohibition order was issued under the Printing Presses and Publication Order (Control of Undesirable Published Works) 2006 order under Sub-section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. 

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