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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Bersih 2.0 may take legal action against Utusan Malaysia for using a picture of a Bersih 5 rally supporter holding a multi-coloured flag in its report on the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-
In a statement, the election watchdog said the report on the correlation between the LGBT community and the rise of Aids and HIV cases in the country while showing Bersih 2.0 supporters was misleading.
“Bersih 2.0 reserves our right to take legal action against Utusan Malaysia for this report...It is misleading, with ill intention and politically motivated,” said its steering committee.
“This is not the first time Utusan Malaysia has made misleading news reports or even lied about Bersih 2.0. We therefore welcome the decision of the Education Ministry for universities and schools to stop subscribing to Utusan Malaysia.”
Bersih 2.0 also warned media practitioners that misinformation, distortion and exclusion of information would not be well-received by the public in the “New Malaysia.”
They added that the Bersih 5 rally was not illegal, contrary to the picture caption in the Utusan Malaysia report.
“Bersih 2.0 maintains that Bersih 5 rally was not an illegal assembly as the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, this was even made crystal clear when Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed an injunction by the police to stop the rally on 17 November 2016.”
Its steering committee also said they did not discriminate against anybody who wished to fight for a free and fair election, regardless of their orientation.
“The objective of Bersih 2.0 holding Bersih 5 rally was to demand for free and fair election and to clean the country from corruption following the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal,” it said.
“Bersih 2.0 welcomes whoever supports our call for democracy and a free and fair election. The participants of Bersih 5 rally came from all walks of life irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, party affiliations and lifestyle, including the current Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin.
“Clearly, the story of Utusan Malaysia is not factually correct on Bersih 5 rally, and it has nothing to do at all with protecting democracy or a free and fair election, which was the purpose of Bersih 5 rally being held in 2016. We question the motive behind Utusan Malaysia in placing a photo of the Bersih rally along with a story on HIV infection,” said Bersih 2.0.