Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of Syed Jaymal
Zahiid of the news website Malaysiakini while covering a demonstration
by the Coalition Against Inflation at the foot of the Petronas towers,
Kuala Lumpur’s most famous landmark, on 26 January. A total of 1,300
police officers were sent to disperse the 200 people taking part in the
protest against cost of living increases. Around 60 arrests were made.
Zahiid was arrested for “obstructing the police” when he asked a police
officer why the demonstrators were being arrested.
After being charged along with 34 other people with taking part
in an “illegal gathering,” Zahiid was released yesterday on bail of 250
euros. The Centre for Independent Journalism, a local press freedom
group, called on the authorities “to drop the charges against the
reporter, in the name of the right to work as a journalist.”
is one of the few independent news outlets in Malaysia. Editor K.
Kabilan said “there are few news media that carry reports about
demonstrations organised by opposition parties or NGOs.” A group of
NGOs meanwhile today called for a boycott of the leading news media in
protest against their lack of independence. Elections are due to be
held in March.