KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob distanced his government today from allegations of political interference in the media, following claims of this at two news outlets.

He reiterated that the press in Malaysia were free to report responsibly.

“We (the government) have never interfered the media.

“The media have the freedom as long as the reporting is accurate and credible,” he told reporters after attending an event at the Majestic Hotel tonight.

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Ismail Sabri was responding to concerns raised by several press groups over alleged political interference in the editorial leadership of the New Straits Times (NST) and criminal defamation charges against two journalists from The Edge.

However, the PM declined to comment directly on either matter as he was not privy to all the details.

“Not fair for me to comment on matters that I do not have the full information,” he said.

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NST representatives were also seen handing documents to Ismail Sabri, understood to be a petition from their newsroom on the matter.

Earlier today, the National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJM) and Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) raised concerns over news reports that NST had replaced their group editor following meddling by a political party.