Activist Lena Hendry's conviction over a film screening has far reaching implications, including to prevent the use of a film as an educational tool in institutes of higher learning, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) was told today.
Lena was on Feb 21 convicted of breaching the Film Censorship Act by screening “No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” in July 2013 without approval from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia.
“This sets a very negative precedent because it instils a culture of fear and self censorship, even academicians will become fearful of screening films for education purposes,” Lena said after submitting a memorandum on the matter at the Suhakam office in Kuala Lumpur today.
The memorandum was received by commissioner Mah Weng Kwai, who said Suhakam would now study the case before making its recommendations.
Under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002, Lena could face up to three years' jail or a fine not exceeding RM30,000. She is scheduled to be sentenced next Wednesday.
Lena had screened the film at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall as part of an event hosted by the NGO Pusat Komas, her former employer.
Pusat Komas coordinator Ryan Chua said the conviction criminalises alternate views.
“The sentencing of Lena Hendry... is an effort to limit access to information and alternative views, particularly those highlighting human rights violations,” Chua said.
[More to follow]-Mkini