JULY 25 ― The Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJ) strongly urges the Malaysian Home Ministry (KDN) to lift the three-month suspension of the publishing permits of The Edge Malaysia business weekly and The Edge Financial Daily over their reports on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
IoJ also calls on the KDN to make public the reasons for the suspension in clear and precise terms, rather than a vague statement of content being "prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest".
The authorities must furnish strong evidence that the reports in question are based on false or inaccurate information. While IoJ understands there are ethical and legal concerns about how the information on which the reports are based was obtained, no Malaysian laws seem to have been broken and the source of the information should be less of a concern than its implications to the current administration.
The press plays a crucial role in holding public officials and bodies such as 1MDB to account, more so when there are serious allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement involving public funds.
IoJ takes the stand that the requirement for press licensing in Malaysia is counter-productive to the principle of reporting without fear or favour and reiterates its call for the Printing Presses and Publications Act to be abolished.
The IoJ stands behind Edge Media Group publisher and chief executive officer Ho Kay Tat; and all reporters, news workers, editors, and staff facing the consequences for doing their jobs.
We urge the public to stand with The Edge and all Malaysian media in exercising our right to free speech.
* This is the opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.