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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

LFL flays MCMC over 'unnecessary' report against blogger


Lawyers for Liberty has slammed the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for its police report against blogger Murray Hunter over the latter’s claims that the agency has become “politicised” under the current government.

LFL director Zaid Malek said the police report was “unnecessary and high-handed.”

“A public body, funded by taxpayers’ money, has no business to complain of defamation.

“They must accept public criticism, even if it is harsh, as they are public servants. If any criticism is unfounded, it is open for them to respond and clarify, and not to file criminal complaints against legitimate criticism,” Zaid said in a statement today.

Yesterday, the MCMC categorically rejected as baseless Hunter’s accusations that the agency and the police have become politically influenced by the administration.

The commission stressed it had lodged a police report against Hunter’s claims.

‘No equal playing field’

Elaborating, Zaid said it is unfair for the public to face a police complaint from a major public body, such as the MCMC.

“There is no equality of arms or equal playing field here. Can Hunter expect a fair investigative process in these circumstances?

“Freedom of speech and expression, protected under Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution, is one of the pillars of our democracy.

“This right must be especially protected when the public voices dissent or criticism against the government or public institutions,” he added.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil

Zaid urged Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil to take full responsibility for MCMC’s actions on the matter, as the agency falls under his ministry’s jurisdiction.

According to him, Fahmi’s denials that freedom of speech is being stifled under the government rings hollow, in light of the MCMC’s “oppressive conduct.”

“The government cannot keep claiming that they are reformists when they keep using the same authoritarian playbook and wielding oppressive laws against critics.

“Freedom of speech and expression will be rendered illusory and meaningless if the government takes criminal action against anyone criticising them or public bodies.

“We urge the government to arrest this plunge into authoritarianism and uphold the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of speech and expression.” - Mkini

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