Earlier post:- Rally for press freedom on Saturday August 8 from 11 am, beginning from the Bar Council Headquarters to Pasar Seni
400 march in #808 rally against The Edge suspension, attacks on media freedom
Participants dressed in blue and black, the colour theme to signify the "bruising" of media through attacks on press freedom, freedom of expression and the people's right to information. The procession was helmed by Malaysiakini editor Fathi Aris Omar who led the crowd in chanting "Bebas media" (Free the media) and "Jangan takut lapor 1MDB" (Don't be afraid to report on 1MDB).
The rally comes as the media faces pressure and threats to ensure their reports do not run foul of the authorities.
The Edge is challenging the suspensions with a judicial review, and its move is said to be the first time a Malaysian media organisation has ever done so. The High Court has allowed its application for a judicial review but rejected a stay on the suspension.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was recently promoted to deputy prime minister in a Cabinet reshuffle, also said that he would act without warning against media organisations that "spun" news.
New Hope Movement (GHB) secretary Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who also attended today’s rally, said Putrajaya should immediately lift the suspension of The Edge publications to show that the government respected democracy.
"The Edge has enlightened the public. Immediately lift the suspension so that democracy can be restored," he told reporters at the rally.
Other civil society activists at the rally today were former deputy minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and political analyst Dr Wong Chin Huat.
A few DAP federal lawmakers – Gobind Singh Deo, Tony Pua and Liew Chin Tong – were also present.
Saifuddin in a short speech said The Edge and website Sarawak Report, which had also carried exposes on 1MDB, were being punished for seeking the truth.
UK-based website Sarawak Report has been blocked within Malaysia by Internet regulators who said it had carried false reports about 1MDB and that such articles could destabilise the country.
Saifuddin also said that writers and journalists did not use violent means and should not be made the enemy.
"Were they violent? Were they opposing the constitution? Writers are the most peaceful people in the world because they sit at their tables and write. They write peacefully. They are not doing anything against the constitution," he said.
Ambiga meanwhile urged the public to support the freedom of the press in searching for answers, adding that the Home Ministry's suspension of the two papers was an abuse of power.
"Had The Edge and Sarawak Report chosen not to do the right thing, we might not be here. You can suspend The Edge, you can block Sarawak Report, but you can never hide the truth," she said.
The hour-long protest ended peacefully with little sign of police as protesters walked about with banners and placards which read, "Media bukan musuh" (The media is not the enemy), "Defend freedom of information, "Asking questions about 1MDB is not a crime", "Journalism is not a crime" and "I will not be silenced".
Organisers of the walk, the Coalition for Press Freedom (CPF), yesterday met with police and obtained the green light for the rally.
The CPF is a loose alliance of media groups comprising Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm), Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia and Reporters San Frontieres (RSF). – August 8, 2015.
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Aug 8, 2015
300 gather to denounce The Edge suspension
The protestors converged at Kuala Lumpur's Central Market before marching to the Bar Council building about 100 metres away.
They held placards and shouted slogans such as "free the media" and "we support the media".
The protesters comprise of media personnel, activists as well as members of the public but also received bi-partisan support from political parties.
Most notably, Umno's former deputy minister Saifuddin Abdullah was present to show solidarity.
Other leaders present include Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong, former Selangor exco Ronnie Liu and PSM central committee member S Arutchelvan. - Malaysiakini, 8/8/2015