On Tuesday 4 August, Malaysian police conducted a raid on Al Jazeera’s Kuala Lumpur office and seized two computers.
This comes on the back of international condemnation of the actions of the Malaysian authorities. Al Jazeera views this not only as an attack on itself but on press freedom as a whole.
The raid comes after Malaysian police questioned seven Al Jazeera staff members as part of an investigation launched after the broadcast of the 101 East investigative report, “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown” on July 3, 2020.
The programme looked at Malaysia's treatment of illegal foreign workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Al Jazeera is gravely concerned that its staff are being investigated for sedition, defamation and violation of the country’s Communications and Multimedia Act, offences which carry jail terms and fines.
“Al Jazeera calls upon the Malaysian authorities to cease this criminal investigation into our journalists,” said Giles Trendle, Managing Director of Al Jazeera English.
“Conducting a raid on our office and seizing computers is a troubling escalation in the authorities’ crackdown on media freedom and shows the lengths they are prepared to take to try to intimidate journalists.”
“Al Jazeera stands by our journalists and we stand by our reporting. Our staff did their jobs and they’ve got nothing to answer for or apologise for. Journalism is not a crime.”
Malaysian officials have criticised the 101 East report as being inaccurate, misleading and unfair.
Al Jazeera strongly refutes these charges and stands by the professionalism, quality and impartiality of its journalism.
101 East, a weekly programme from across the Asia Pacific region, has a reputation for producing in-depth journalism of the highest quality. Many of its programmes have been internationally recognised with prestigious awards from across the globe.
In a world in which the media face increasing threats, Al Jazeera calls for media freedom and the right to report freely without intimidation.