two Australian journalists in Kuching last night.PKR has called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to end Putrajaya’s relentless assault on the media, following the detention of
Describing the arrest as a clear attempt to intimidate of the media, PKR communications director Fahmi Fazil said the duo from Four Corners – Linton Besser and a camera operator – who have since been released, should had not been detained in the first place.
“Second, any attempt to prosecute members of the media for executing their duties as the fourth estate of democracy should be condemned.
“This is a serious attack on freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and forms part of a series of actions, including the blocking of websites Sarawak Report and The Malaysian Insider, as well as deportation of Mary Anne Jolley of Aljazeera’s 101 East, which show Putrajaya’s increased intolerance of a free press,” Fahmi said in a statement today.
Fahmi said a free media was critical to the functioning of democracy and attempts to silence the media would ultimately damage Malaysia’s standing internationally.
A local assisting the ABC team was also held.
Sally Neighbour, the programme’s executive producer said on Twitter the staff was arrested "after trying to question Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak over a corruption scandal".
Najib was in Kuching yesterday at the launch of the Malaysian National Digital Inclusion programme.
The crew had flown to Kuching yesterday and wanted to ask Najib about the alleged RM2.6 billion channelled into his bank accounts during the prime minister’s walkabout in Kampung Haji Baki.
However, Najib did not respond when the journalist asked the question and the prime minister’s security pushed the crew aside.
Police from the Kota Sentosa station picked the crew up after they had returned to their hotel.
They are being investigated under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing a public servant in discharge of public function.
The Australian consular in Kuching has appointed a lawyer to handle their case. – March 13, 2016.