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Regional Round-Up 2021 (Year in Review Edition): Malaysia

Throughout the year, we have been keeping you up to date on noteworthy developments across the region with our Regional Round-up Publications. As we…

Malaysian Advocacy Groups Sound Alarm Over Attacks on Press, Politicians

This year has seen at least five cases in which journalists have been questioned and investigated for their reporting.

A Setback for Media Freedom in Malaysia


IFJ
24 February 2021
A Setback for Media Freedom in Malaysia
A coalition of Malaysian and international media organisations and freedom of expression groups, including the Centre for Independent Journalism, Gerakan Media Merdeka and the National Union of Journalists Peninsula Malaysia, and global partners International Federation of Journalists, Article 19, Reporters Without Borders and the Centre for Law and Democracy are concerned that the Malaysian Federal Court’s 19 February 2021 conviction of online news outlet Malaysiakini on contempt of court charges will have a serious chilling effect on media freedom and freedom of expression.
Malaysian news site Malaysiakini's editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to the media after the contempt of court verdict. Credit: Mohd RASFAN / AFP

Malaysian Newspaper Editor Under Investigation for Criticizing Court Ruling

The probe is just the latest attempt by the Malaysian authorities to silence the pioneering news portal Malaysiakini.

Criticising court decision not seditious, says Guan Eng

Party leader states the judiciary silencing differences of opinion is curbing freedom of speech.

Malaysiakini fined for contempt of court, raises over RM700k for defence fund


Malaysiakini fined for contempt of court, raises over RM700k for defence fund
Details
22 February 2021
Malaysiakini has raised more than RM700k for its media defence fund, days after it was fined RM500,000 for contempt of court last Friday. According to a banner on the website, Malaysiakini said the donation campaign has been suspended since it has achieved the required target.
The news platform was founded to be in contempt of court due to readers' comments perceived as offensive to the judiciary. The country's attorney-general filed an application to cite the news platform and its editor-in-chief Steven Gan for contempt of court over five comments from readers on Malaysiakini. According to Channel NewsAsia, the application said the comments "undermined public confidence in the judiciary".

Malaysian Bar decries Malaysiakini's court fine, says RM500,000 not proportionate to offence | Malaysia


Friday, 19 Feb 2021 07:06 PM MYT
BY JERRY CHOONG
Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir said a lower amount would have been sufficient to demonstrate the Court’s disapproval of Malaysiakini’s offence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The Malaysian Bar has expressed its worry over the RM500,000 fine imposed by the Federal Court earlier today on online news portal
Malaysiakini for contempt, calling it exorbitant and excessive.
Its president Salim Bashir said a lower amount would have been sufficient to demonstrate the Court’s disapproval of Malaysiakini’s offence.

EU says concerned over Malaysiakini's court decision, effect on the media | Malaysia


Saturday, 20 Feb 2021 01:35 PM MYT
BY JERRY CHOONG
Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan arrives at the Federal Court in Putrajaya February 19, 2021. Yesterday, Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf handed down the RM500,000 fine to Malaysiakini's operator Mkini Dot Com Sdn Bhd following the decision by a panel of seven judges. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — The recent fine imposed by the Federal Court on news portal
Malaysiakini for contempt of court has drawn the worry of the European Union (EU) and two of its members.

EU, Norwegian, Swiss envoys express concern over court's decision on contempt


PETALING JAYA: The European Union Ambassadors resident in Malaysia, along with the Ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland, have expressed concern over the Federal Court's decision against English news portal Malaysiakini after it was slapped with half-a-million ringgit for contempt of court for facilitating in the publication of its readers' comments.
"While fully recognising the independence and the dignity of the judiciary, we are concerned by the Federal Court's decision against Malaysiakini and the impact it can have on press freedom in Malaysia," it said in a joint statement on Saturday (Feb 20).
"Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democratic societies. Media are crucial for debate, transparency and accountability," it added.

Federal Court decides Malaysiakini in contempt of court over readers' comments, but finds its editor Steven Gan not guilty | Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 19 — The Federal Court in a majority ruling today decided that Malaysiakini is in contempt of the judiciary over the hosting of the contemptuous comments of five of its readers on the news portal’s website. Contempt of court can be punished by imprisonment or fine or both, with...

Malaysiakini guilty of contempt but editor-in-chief not liable, rules Federal Court

​​​​​​​PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court here has ruled that Malaysiakini is in contempt of court over readers' comments that criticise the judiciary on an article it posted last year.

Malaysian news site hit with massive fine amid press freedom fears

A leading Malaysian news site was fined $120,000 Friday over readers' comments that criticised the judiciary, in a case that has sparked alarm about deteriorating press freedom.

Malaysian court finds portal guilty over readers' comments

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s top court ruled Friday that a popular online...

Malaysiakini found guilty of contempt | The Malaysian Insight

Federal Court finds editor-in-chief not guilty of same charge.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim rallies behind Malaysiakini | Malaysia


Friday, 19 Feb 2021 08:00 PM MYT
BY SOO WERN JUN
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that in the short time that PN has been in power, there appears to be a consistent assault on free expression and free press. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has expressed his concern about several recent incidents that allegedly indicate an attempt by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to curb free press and speech in Malaysia.
In a statement today, Anwar recalled that only in the short period of time that PN has been in power, there appears to be a consistent assault on free expression and free press, including purported investigations and harassment of journalists, civil society leaders, members of Parliament, and now independent publishing houses.

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