KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today reminded the attorney general that Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression amid an ongoing court case that could test the extent of anyone’s right to free speech.
The PKR president said he had been following the contempt proceedings initiated by Tan Sri Idrus Harun against news website Malaysiakini over its readers’ comments that were allegedly contemptuous of the judiciary.
“We should acknowledge and consider freedom of speech which is guaranteed in the Constitution.
“It is wrong and extreme to victimise the media and I urge the Attorney General to relook the action as it will affect Malaysia’s global image and reputation,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Anwar said the Federal Court’s decision today to allow the contempt proceedings to go ahead would have an impact not only on media freedom in the country, but also freedom of expression on the internet.
He said the media played an important role in a democratic system in disseminating information and warned against the pitfalls in shooting the messenger.
He said any form of punishment on the media would be contrary to the spirit of democracy and a lawful country.
He noted that there had been several other recent cases involving other journalists being questioned over their reporting, naming health portal CodeBlue and a correspondent of Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post.
“We should not follow the previous regime which imposed restrictions on media personnel carrying out their duties,’ the Port Dickson MP added, without elaborating.