Home Civil Society Voices 2016 Civil Society Voices Video: ABC journalist asks Najib to explain money in his account

Video: ABC journalist asks Najib to explain money in his account

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After a flurry of statements by press freedom groups and concern by the Australian government, Malaysian authorities are dropping charges on two Australian journalists for allegedly failing to comply with police instructions when trying to question Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The CPJ statement below was the latest statement issued:

CPJ: Australian journalists harassed and threatened in Malaysia

Authorities should immediately lift restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of two Australian journalists in Malaysia and drop all legal threats against them, the Committee to Protect Journalists said yesterday.

Linton Besser, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter, and Louie Eroglu, an ABC camera operator, were detained for more than six hours in the Malaysian city of Kuching on Saturday after questioning Prime Minister Najib Razak about politically sensitive allegations involving deposits worth more than US$1bn from a state-run investment fund, known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), into the premier’s personal bank accounts, news reports said.

Eroglu (left) and Besser - Photograph: Twitter
Eroglu (left) and Besser – Photograph: Twitter

Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

ABC reported that Besser and Eroglu, both contributors to the state broadcaster’s “Four Corners” investigative TV news programme, were surrounded by Najib’s personal security detail soon after they approached the premier while he was visiting a local mosque.

The reporters were allowed to leave the scene after being questioned, but were later re-arrested at their hotel and taken to a police station, the same ABC report said.

Authorities temporarily seized their passports, but later returned the documents upon the reporters’ release, according to news reports. Authorities ordered both reporters to remain in Kuching until the attorney general’s office decides whether to file criminal charges for allegedly crossing a security line and aggressively approaching the prime minister. ABC denied that their reporters crossed a security line or behaved in an aggressive manner, according to the report.

READ MORE:  A deficient democracy

If charged under article 136 of Malaysia’s Penal Code, which outlines penalties for obstructing state officials, Besser and Eroglu could each face a maximum sentence of two years in prison. News reports said the attorney general’s office is expected to decide by Wednesday whether it will file formal charges. The two reporters were still in Kuching as of late Monday, according to ABC.

“Simply asking the prime minister a question should not be grounds for detention or any kind of legal threat,” Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior representative in Southeast Asia, said. “We call on Malaysia to lift all restrictions on Linton Besser and Louie Eroglu, and on all reporters who have been harassed for reporting on serious corruption allegations.”

Malaysian authorities have censored, harassed, and threatened punitive legal action against reporters who have uncovered and published details of the 1MDB fund controversy, CPJ research shows. Last year, authorities banned two newspapers run by The Edge Media Group for three months for reporting on the 1MDB affair they deemed as “prejudicial to public order, security and national interests.”

The group’s affiliated independent news website, Malaysian Insider, announced yesterday that it would cease publication after being blocked last month by the government’s media regulator in punitive response to its critical 1MDB news coverage

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Abdul Rahman
Abdul Rahman
4 Apr 2016 10.23am

The last time one was caught as involved in corruption in a party to win a party election. His bribery act was named “Politik Wang”, he was not tried in public court. He escaped scot free. Useless of having a Judiciary System & separation of powers, ACA and all those ethos. The individual is just a high flier, above the law and he is still holding position. Nothing happens as they have their own displinary committee. When they bribe, they really bribe big money and they escape all authorized agencies. Now we have a scandal known as ” political donation “, also a big bribery, a big hand out, also a high flier. The public law is for poor citizens while the upper class citizens are above the law. The law is an ” ass”. It’s useless and its not serving the idealism that “no one is above the law”, all citizens are same under the law. We are NOT suppose to have a separate displinary board or committee, then what is the point we have a Judiciary, Attorney General Office, Legislators, & Executives and the… Read more »

Brian Monger
Brian Monger
16 Mar 2016 4.45am

Perhaps he made it part time on eBay?

pesky pee
pesky pee
16 Mar 2016 2.10am

The police were obviously caught off guard and embarressed by having journalists at the walk around not pre-screened by the authorities so as to not ask embarressing questions to the PM whilst he is swaning around pretending to be Sarawak’s saviour

Gan Sc
Gan Sc
15 Mar 2016 9.41pm

Where got telur 2 answer

Mary Kwok
Mary Kwok
15 Mar 2016 3.06pm

Save yourselves from embarrassment …..better to refrain than to retract. So THINK (if you are capable of that) before you act or comment. I want to say I AM MALAYSIAN with pride. Thank you.

Matt Tango
Matt Tango
15 Mar 2016 11.37am

BUAT MALU SAJA….cukup lah tu..Dah banyak Dah “kemaluan” dok tunjuk Kat orang..

Robert Ting
Robert Ting
15 Mar 2016 11.35am

crooks can’t win

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