Star CEO, union condemn attacks against journalists in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA - Swift action needs to be taken against those who harass and intimidate journalists who are just doing their duty, Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said.

In condemning the action by Red Shirts individuals against reporters, he said such provocations against members of the media covering the Bersih 5.0 convoy in Kuala Selangor was totally unnecessary.

Wong said the three journalists from The Star have lodged police reports and identified the culprits to the police.

"We hope the necessary action will be taken swiftly.

Malaysia has no place for mob rule, hooligans and thugs.

"No one should be allowed to harass and intimidate anyone, especially the media from carrying out their work," he said in a statement yesterday.

Wong said the action of these individuals should be condemned by all rational and moderate Malaysians regardless of political allegiance.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) also condemned the harassment of journalists and urged the police to arrest the leader of the group.

It will lodge a police report against the anti-Bersih group soon.

NUJ said the anti-Bersih group did not understand the job of journalists.

"It is clear that this group was too emotional in its actions. They didn't think rationally," it said in a statement.

It added that it was embarrassing that such uncivilised behaviour still exists in Malaysia.

"Media practitioners deserve justice and protection from threats such as this that can interfere with their duty to report the truth.

The Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJ) also condemned the attack.

It said the allegations of assault against the press are especially disturbing as the targets were female journalists.

"Violence against women is despicable. Taking pictures of a journalist's media tag is also an act of intimidation.

"We urge the police to take immediate action against the perpetrators of alleged assault.

Freedom of speech does not include violent behaviour.

Journalists must be allowed to do their work without encountering threats, or violence or intimidation," it said in a statement.