Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Detention of journalist an act to intimidate media'

'Detention of journalist an act to intimidate media'

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has described the detention of Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng under the Internal Security Act as an act to intimidate the media.

General secretary Hong Boon How said: “This sort of action must stop if the Government wants to advocate a freer media in Malaysia.”

He also said yesterday the investigation of the case could have been handled amicably by asking her to report to the police station instead of picking her up at her home.

NUJ general treasurer Martin Vengadesan condemned Tan’s detention as the Umno supreme council had already suspended its Bukit Bendera division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail for three years based on his statement.

“We feel this detention is a case of shooting the messenger. We hope the authorities will release Tan soon,” he said.

Bernama reported that the union’s president Norila Daud voiced concern over the Home Ministry’s show-cause letters to The Sun, Sin Chew Daily and Suara Keadilan for alleged manipulation and highlighting of sensitive issues.

She described the worrying trend as being tantamount to further restriction to press freedom, thus hindering journalists from reporting the truth without fear.

“The union feels the current political temperature was rising because of irresponsible politicians making comments on sensitive issues without thinking what the implications of their remarks would have on the public,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Norila said the media merely reported the facts and was not a party to any issue.

“If these (news)papers were to be closed down or suspended, the livelihood of hundreds of journalists and non-journalists will also be affected,” she said

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