“The Economist July16 issue has been censored/black inked on Bersih story by Home Ministry,” reads a tweet by Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran.
In photos distributed via micro-blog site Twitter, the report headlines 'Political affray in Malaysia: Taken to the cleaners' shows lines blacked out by what seems to be a permanent marker pen.
Malaysiakini could not immediately verify the claim, but a comparison with the online version reveals that the lines struck out refer to allegations of police and government misconduct:
- 'and one man died of a heart attack', in the first paragraph.
- 'The march itself was then banned, although the authorities offered Bersih a stadium to meet in - and then withdrew the offer', in the second paragraph
- 'The heavy-handed police tactics have provoked a lot of anger; the government has conceded an official investigation into claims of police brutality. In one instance (caught on film), police seemed to fire tear gas and water cannon into a hospital where protesters were sheltering from a baton charge', in the fourth paragraph.
When contacted, Kulasegaran criticised the action as “uncalled for”.
“In this day and age only a police run state would do this. They are trying to hide writing which could be true, because (they are afraid) it will be read by the public and they will believe it. The government is still (suffering from) denial syndrome.”
However, the DAP leader dismissed the attempt as ineffectual as the full article is “available online anyway”.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua also tweeted on the matter and posted photos of the censored pages: “I'm sure @TheEconomist readers are intelligent enough to know how to get the full article, but the censorship reflects the stupidity & insecurity of an autocratic regime.”
He observed that the portrayal of the “Jews as bogeyman (by Umno owned-daily) Utusan (Malaysia) & @TheEconomist censorship signify an insecure regime”.