Amnesty International, media watchdog condemn raids over Al Jazeera documentary

The police raid on Al Jazeera’s office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday was followed by similar operations at Astro and UnifiTv. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia has criticised the authorities’ raid on Al Jazeera’s office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday over a documentary on the treatment of migrants under lockdown.

“The government’s crackdown on migrants and refugees as well (as those) who speak up in their defence is clearly meant to silence and intimidate and should be condemned.

“Protect migrants. Protect freedom of expression,” it said in a tweet.

The Centre for Independent Journalism also condemned the raid and urged Putrajaya to drop all investigations against Al Jazeera and other media including Astro and UnifiTv, which were also raided after they aired the Al Jazeera documentary.

“To date, the government has yet to debunk Al Jazeera’s claims with verifiable facts and evidence to demonstrate that fundamental human rights of migrants have not been undermined,” said its executive director, Wathshlah G Naidu.

The media watchdog added that the government should promote media freedom and place a moratorium on the use of repressive laws, including Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, the Sedition Act 1948, the Official Secrets Act 1972 and the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Act 1981.

Putrajaya has slammed the documentary titled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown” and demanded an apology from Al Jazeera.

Last month, police said they were probing the satellite broadcaster for sedition, defamation and transmission of offensive content.