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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Journalists want answers on ‘police brutality’


The National Union of Journalists has asked why the police attacked journalists during their coverage of Bersih 3.0 rally yesterday.
PETALING JAYA: What have journalists done to deserve the police’s brutal treatment yesterday?
This was a question asked by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) general-secretary V Anbalagan, who condemned the police for attacking reporters covering the Bersih 3.0 protests.
“They [the police] have no business to use violence on media workers who were assigned to carry out a public duty, that is, to provide news coverage, obtain pictures and footages for their audience,” he said in a press statement.
During the pandemonium in yesterday’s events, several journalists were attacked by police officers. Some photographers even saw their cameras and memory cards destroyed after they were seen taking photos of alleged police brutality.
Malaysiakini photographer Koh Jun Lin was arrested, and his camera equipment confiscated. Malay Mail confirmed that its photographer Arif Kartono was punched by police and his camera destroyed.
Al-Jazeera’s crew was roughed about and their camera damaged after they tried to film an officer beating up a protester.
Nanyang Siang Pau, Guang Ming, Channel News Asia and Merdeka Review journalists all suffered similar treament at the hands of the police.
This reporter, though not set upon by officers, was nevertheless chased off, and in a few incidents tailed for a while by police after attempting to take photographs of officers attacking protesters.
Such incidents were baffling to Anbalagan, who said that journalists up until then, were in good relations with the police.
He then asked if the harsh treatment was an attempt to stop the Press from showing people that the police were engaged in alleged brutality.
“…is it to confiscate their cameras or other digital equipment which had captured incidents that could have put the police in the bad light of the single most widely followed event on Saturday?”
He demanded an explanation from Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar, and advised all journalists who suffered at the hands of the police to lodge reports.

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