A number of Al Jazeera journalists concerned within the manufacturing of a current documentary about Malaysia’s therapy of undocumented staff throughout the coronavirus pandemic have been being questioned on the nation’s police headquarters on Friday, because the community defended its journalism and expressed “deep concern” in regards to the investigation.
The police have stated they’re investigating the workers about potential sedition, defamation and violation of the nation’s Communications and Multimedia Act.
The brief movie on Al Jazeera’s 101 East documentary strand referred to as, Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown, was broadcast on July 3, and investigated the plight of 1000’s of undocumented migrant staff arrested throughout raids in areas underneath tight lockdowns.
Malaysian officers and nationwide tv claimed the report was inaccurate, deceptive and unfair.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob referred to as on Al Jazeera to apologise to Malaysians, including that allegations of racism and discrimination in opposition to undocumented migrants have been unfaithful.
Al Jazeera Media Community has strongly rejected the Malaysian allegations.
Six #AlJazeera workers introduced themselves for questioning at Bukit Aman police HQ accompanied by 7 legal professionals for questioning over a documentary on therapy of migrant staff https://t.co/e04NGA4afh
— Amy Chew (@1AmyChew) July 10, 2020
In a assertion launched on Thursday, the Qatar-based broadcaster on Thursday stated it stands by “the professionalism, high quality and impartiality of its journalism”, and warned of “critical issues about developments which have occurred in Malaysia because the broadcast of the documentary”.
Whereas the documentary targeted on the plight of overseas migrant staff, it additionally highlighted Malaysia’s success in containing the virus and the humanitarian efforts of Malaysian organisations to supply direct help to migrants in want, the broadcaster stated.
The filmmakers sought senior authorities officers’ feedback, however repeated requests for interviews weren’t accepted, in line with the assertion. Feedback made by the defence minister at two information conferences have been included.
Loss of life threats, harassment
Al Jazeera additionally stated it has “grave issues” about its workers in Malaysia who’ve confronted abuse on-line, together with demise threats and disclosure of their private particulars on social media.
“Al Jazeera is deeply involved that its workers at the moment are topic to a police investigation,” stated the assertion.
“Charging journalists for doing their jobs shouldn’t be the motion of a democracy that values free speech. Journalism shouldn’t be a criminal offense,” it added.
It stated the community was “involved for the protection of these interviewed within the documentary who’ve additionally been subjected to abusive on-line harassment and hate speech”.
Malaysia’s immigration division has issued a search discover for a Bangladeshi nationwide interviewed within the documentary.
Different journalists and activists have been questioned about their reporting in current weeks.
A correspondent working for the South China Morning Put up was beforehand questioned after she reported on the arrests of migrant staff throughout the coronavirus lockdown, whereas an activist for refugees, who has been recognised internationally for her work, was additionally referred to as in a couple of Fb put up on the therapy of migrant staff and refugees.
“That is a part of fairly a sustained effort by the federal government to quell down on freedom of expression,” stated Aira Azhari from the Institute of Democracy and Financial Affairs. “It additionally speaks to a broader effort to maybe comprise sure important views throughout the press and civil society.”
Al Jazeera urged Malaysian authorities “to respect media freedom and desist from treating its journalists as criminals”.