KUALA LUMPUR, AUG 8: Some 500 media personnel and activists today gathered in front of the Bar Council in Leboh Ampang to demand for press freedom and freedom of information.
Members of several media rights groups including Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm), Foreign Correspondents Club Malaysia and the Centre for Independent Journalism walked from the Pasar Seni annexe to the Bar Council building from 11am onwards.
Shouting “Bebas Media!” and “Hidup Demokrasi!”, several representatives of press groups also gave speeches calling for the end of harassment towards the press.
Kicking off the walk was Malaysiakini editor Fathi Aris Omar who led the crowd in chanting “Bebas media” (Free the media) and “Jangan takut lapor 1MDB” (Don’t be afraid to report on 1MDB).
Participants wore blue and black, which signifies the ‘bruising’ of the media, especially in light of the recent suspension of the financial newspaper.
Among those present were DAP MPs Gobind Singh, Tony Pua, and Liew Chin Tong, Bersih’s Maria Chin, former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan, as well as CEO of Global Movement of Moderates Saifuddin Abdullah.
As one, they called for the suspension of The Edge to be lifted and for there to be free access to information about one of the greatest financial scandals to hit the nation– the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
Saifuddin, in his short speech, said the press were not the enemy.
“Were they violent? Were they opposing the constitution? Writers are the most peaceful people in the world because they sit at their tables and write. They write peacefully. They are not doing anything against the constitution. They just want to do their jobs, so let them do their jobs,” he said.
Veteran newsman R. Nadeswaran said, “I can’t possibly think how a financial daily could conspire to overthrow the government. That’s not our job, (our job is) to report the news truthfully and accurately.”
“All we’re asking for is for them to present the truth,” he added.
The march ended peacefully and without interference at 12.30pm.
– The Rocket