Journalists are fast becoming victims sandwiched between giants as the crackdown on Bersih activists escalate in the run up to the NGO’s planned mammoth rally on Jul 9 in Kuala Lumpur. Very recent is how journalists covering an anti-Bersih protest in Penang were treated aggresively by protestors while on duty.

On Sunday, journalists covering the Bersih-related campaign by PKR members in Alor Setar, were ‘tricked’ into entering an unauthorised detention centre to be questioned as “independent witnesses”. I know because I was one of the stupid fools. The centre – Pusat Latihan PDRM in Anak Bukit – held 14 of the nabbed activists who gathered at Alor Setar’s Cowboy Market along Jalan Telok Wajah from 9.30am to 7.30pm, just as they were about to hold a press conference.

At about 3.30pm, journalists gathered at the detention centre as they were told that there would be a demontration at the gates by PKR members. However, the 30-odd party members led by state chief Wan Salleh Wan Isa were shooed away by the police, who warned them of possible arrests.

About 20 light strike force personnel equipped with head gears, batons and shields stood prepared for action behind the gates. A few minutes later, the gate opened and a plain clothes policeman told reporters covering the event in the morning to “come inside”. The reporters were given the impression that they would be attending a briefing or given a statement by the police on the day’s detention.

However, upon arriving at the office, reporters were told that they were needed as “independent witnesses” to the episode which took place in the morning. They were warned “not to take any photos” as they waited for about two hours before they were called individually into the building.

The reporters later lamented they did not have a choice as they were already somewhat ‘detained’ within the enclosure of the centre, which appeared more like a classroom for the police. Police then took aside individual journalists and recorded their professional background before being questioned.

They were later asked about their knowlegde of the press conference, about what they witnessed at the scene, whether they saw anyone wearing Bersih’ yellow t-shirts or if they knew the event was related to Bersih. “Are you aware that there would be a big rally on July 9 related to Bersih in Kuala Lumpur?” ACP T.Segeran asked the Malaysiakini journalist who were questioned that day.

Later he told the journalist that “We will do this because we need you to be our witness as we want to be ‘professional’ in our work”. This raises the question of whether journalists should be ‘used’ by the police to investigate their cases. Couldn’t the police refer to their articles which would eventually be published in their respective newspapers on the same day (for internet journalists like Malaysiakini) or the very next day (for the print media).

Journalists have no choice in the matter especially when the police invoke Sectin 112 of the Penal Code and hold them in an enclosed location, where they cannot even refer to a legal counsel. What is most disconcerting, lamented the journalists involved, is that they were not told of the questioning session before hand.

They was even concern among some that this would now be a trend by the police to extract information from reporters where there may be a possibility that their sources can be compromised and unprotected.

What if journalists refuse to answer certain questions by the police, would they be subjected to further detention and accused of witholding information or obstructing justice? Lets’ ponder these questions as journalists from across the media spectrum continue to cover interesting days ahead, without fear or favour.

(ends)

9 responses »

  1. dr. amir says:

    dear sir,
    IT IS A SAD EPISODE THAT BN, ie. UMNO HAS LOST ITS CREDIBILITY AND THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL OF THE RAYKAT IN THIS PARTY IS ERODING FAST. WHAT UMNO/BN MUST DO IS TO LOOK INTO THE MIRROR AND ASK THEMSELVES WHAT WENT WRONG? INSTEAD THEY PREFER TO RULE BY THE IRON FIST, HOW LONG? ANY DICTATOR AND ANY GOVERNMENT OF SUPPRESSION WILL TUMBLE IN NO TIME. UNLESS A REGIME OF VENEZUELA – MADE FOR THE RAKYAT – EVEN THE PARLIMENT GRANT HIM THE POWER TO EXTENT HIS STAY AND RENBUILD THE COUNTRY AND NATIONALISED THEIR WEALTH. MALAYSIA IS THE OPPOSITE, CORPORATISE OUR WEALTH AND GIVE TO UMNOPUTRAS, FAMILIES AND CRONIES. BLED THE NATION WEALTH, DIVIDE AND RULE, POLICING THE STATE, CREATE FEAR, MAKE THE RAKYAT TO PAY ALL FORM OF TAXES, MORE ‘SAMAN’ BY THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE-UP THE DRIED COFFERS, ‘KANGROO COURT’, SELECTIVE PROSECUTION, SELECTED IMMUNITY SYSTEM, SUBSIDIZING THE RICH AND FAMOUS. WE ARE A BACKWARD NATION, A BANANA NATION AND NOT AT ALL GOING TO BE DEVELOPING NATION BUT SINKING TO A POOR NATION AND EVEN A BANKCRUPT ONE.
    UMNO WAS ESTABLISHED TO CHAMPION THE NATION AND SAFEGUARD THE WEALTH AND UPHOLD ITS INTERGRITY. HOWEVER, UMNO BARU HAS DESTROYED EVERYTHING, AND WHAT TROUBLES US TODAY AND YEARS TO COME IS THE POLICY OF UMNO BARU. THEY KNOW THEIR DAYS ARE NUMBERED BUT NO KNOWN DICTATORS AND CORRUPT LEADERS IN THE WORLD WILL EASILY GIVE UP POWERS WITHOUT DOING THE UNTHINKABLE. MALAYSIA IS SET TO DIP FURTHER DOWN UNDER, AND EVEN INDONESIA IN THE VERY VERY NEAR FUTURE WILL SURPASS US IN EVERY NAMED FIELDS. WE WILL BE SENDING MAIDS THERE SOON, OUR WOMEN WILL HIT THE STREETS. I HAVE SEEN ALL AND WE ARE HEADING IN THAT PARTICULAR DIRECTION .

  2. Scott Thong says:

    Query: ”Are you aware that there would be a big rally on July 9 related to Bersih in Kuala Lumpur?”

    Response: Well DUUUUHHHHH, no sh*t! Helloooo, Earth calling Sherlock?

  3. elias says:

    if i were i gonna bersih the police that corrupts.the police that doing something to get some money for the other people.

  4. Bobby says:

    First, betrayal failed in 1997. Then democratic election failed in 2008. Now trying Arab style street demostrations to grab power!!! Only an arse banger would resort to these tactics LOL

  5. wits0 says:

    Query: ”Are you aware that there would be a big rally on July 9 related to Bersih in Kuala Lumpur?”

    Might as well reply and say. “I’m Rip Van Winkle at work until now!”

  6. Ho Ho Ho says:

    Ho😳 Ho😳 Ho😳
    😳 See la with your EYE😯 this👿 RACIST roastHAM evil intention!!!!😳

  7. Bobby says:

    Er, does the Police know that Journalists PAY THEIR SALARIES via taxes?

  8. i-4-c says:

    Good thing Malaysia got ISA to prevent mass hysteria typical of a mob when big crowds gather together as seen in the Arab countries. Time to lock some up lah lol

  9. Ho Ho Ho says:

    Ho😆 Ho😆 Ho😆
    😆 This is the PROOF of what jungle law DICTATOR Flip-flop says……😆

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s