Saturday, July 25, 2015

Condemnation builds over Edge suspension

5:26PM Jul 24, 2015
Malaysiakini
The Home Ministry's move to suspend The Edge Financial Dailyand The Edge Weekly for three months has been condemned as an attempt to silence the media.

Critics have questioned how reporting by The Edge publications on the 1MDB scandal could jeopardise public order.

They also lamented how the media group was being punished for highlighting matters of public interest.

Below are some of the notable reactions to the suspension:

Saifuddin Abdullah, former Umno supreme council member:

I strongly condemn the three months; suspension of The Edge &Financial Daily.

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, PKR Youth chief:

The government owes Malaysians an explanation just why exactly The Edge’s reporting on the 1MDB issue is 'prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest'.

Rather than resort to such draconian methods, the government ought to have fully and comprehensively answered the allegations made.

Ong Kian Ming, DAP Serdang MP:

(Bob) Woodward and (Carl) Bernstein were given the Pulitzer for uncovering the Watergate Scandal. In Malaysia, The Edge is suspended for its 1MDB coverage.

Centre For Independent Journalism:

For the government to muzzle The Edge under these circumstances only leads to more questions on the management of 1MDB.

It is in fact in the public and government's interest, for the governance and management of 1MDB to be transparent and accountable.

Media watchdog Geramm:

Since The Edge had denied tampering with the documents and investigations are still ongoing, with no conclusive findings, Geramm believes the Home Ministry had acted in bad faith againstThe Edge in the suspension.

Geramm maintains that the media should have the ability to investigate matters of public interest that would have otherwise not see the light of day.

Electoral watchdog Bersih:

Solidarity with The Edge. The truth will surely overcome the corrupt.

This ongoing crackdown, first onSarawak Reportand now The Edge, can only lead us to wonder if it is because the allegations of The Wall Street Journalwere accurate in claiming RM2.6 billion was transferred into the personal bank account of the prime minister two months before the 2013 general election.
 
Bersih urges the Home Ministry to immediately revoke the suspension of The Edge and to desist in its continuous harassment of journalists who expose alleged corrupt practices by senior officials linked to the Malaysian government.
 
Until then, Bersih stands in solidarity with The Edge and we ask for all Malaysians to unite behind a call for institutional changes to our broken system to ensure Malaysia never again has to endure such a scandal.
 
N Surendran, PKR Padang Serai MP:

The Edge had further obtained and provided important evidence relating to the scandal to the MACC, police and Bank Negara, all of which comprise the 1MDB special task force.

The action by the Home Ministry against The Edge thus has the obvious effect of undermining the work of the 1MDB task force.

Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin:

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's move does not reflect his patriotism as he should be more interested in protecting national interest, rather than Najib's.

Why is the home minister involved in the matter? The scandal does not affect Malaysians only, but has gone global.

Zahid (photo) has failed in his duty as home minister to safeguard the country's and people's interest.

If there was anything wrong with The Edge reports, take them to court, and let the market decide the authenticity or credibility of the reports.

Lawyers for Liberty:

This is a most serious assault on the freedom of the press, a case of suppressing dissenting and critical press, as under no circumstances could The Edge’s coverage of the 1MDB scandal could be described as "prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest", as alleged in the suspension order.

The Edge's coverage of the 1MDB scandal was the finest hour of Malaysia's press. It was journalism at its best as they fearlessly investigated and reported on the massive and complex 1MDB scandal, despite the overwhelming odds and threats against them.

The Edge should be lauded for their outstanding journalism instead of being persecuted.

Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia:

To begin with, the very idea that the government can suspend or revoke printing licenses at a moment's notice needs to be done away with if the government is truly committed to press freedom. But to suspend a newspaper over reports that no one has been able to prove were false, is plainly contrary to the notion of natural justice.

By all means, investigate The Edge, its owners and staff. Police have already questioned chief executive Ho Kay Tat and are reportedly due to interview owner Tong Kooi Ong. Authorities should ask themselves if a suspension aids investigations at all, and explain to the public on what basis they have decided that The Edge has endangered national security.

We call on all stakeholders and the general public to participate in a democratic society responsibly. All parties who feel aggrieved should be given their right of reply and there are proactive ways to engage in public discourse that are more productive and honest, than using the blunt force of anachronistic law.

The Home Ministry should immediately revoke its suspension order, or failing which, the courts must urgently hear the matter once The Edge has filed for a review of the decision, so as to ensure a vibrant and orderly Malaysian society that the FCCM has been proud to operate in.

National Union of Journalists Malaysia:

The Home Ministry, in both its recent show-cause letter and today's notice of suspension, had not identified specifically the offending articles which were deemed to have been harmful to national security.

NUJ is of the opinion that the Home Ministry must spell out clearly how The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily are deemed a threat to national security.

We are of the view that both publications had published articles related to 1MDB with public interest in mind.

Both The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily had also published rebuttals from both Government spokepersons and 1MDB. As such, the publications have offered a platform for civil debate and discourse.
~ Malaysiakini

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