The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, issued the following statement today (10 March 2016) on her increasing concern about the restriction of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Malaysia:
I am concerned at the increasing restriction of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Malaysia. The decision to block access to the online portal “The Malaysian Insider” because of its critical reporting on the Government is just one example. In recent months there have been several instances of the Malaysian authorities trying to restrict independent reporting on domestic events. Journalists and private individuals who have voiced criticism of the Government have been deliberately intimidated through police interrogations and arbitrary arrests.
The announcement of possible amendments to the law which would allow the state tougher control over online media and content fill me with deep concern.
I call on the Malaysian Government to respect the freedom of the press, freedom of opinion and freedom of speech and to ensure that changes to the law are in compliance with international human rights standards.