Thursday, November 07, 2013

Lena Hendry on 7/11/2013 postponed as Magistrate was on medical leave

Update:-  The lawyers were informed this morning that the case will be postponed as the presiding Magistrate was on medical leave (M.C). Lena did not go to court, only the lawyers did and we are still waiting for details. Emails were apparently sent out informing people that the case was not going on. Thanks to those that turned up in court, and we look forward to your continued support.

It is important for us to show support and solidarity for Human Rights Defenders like Lena Hendry - and dropping by to show solidarity with Lena Hendry this Thursday would be a good thing.

Upcoming court date
7/11/2013, 9am
Magistrate Court 6, 2nd Floor, 

Duta Court Complex, Kuala Lumpur 

Something else that can be done is signing the online petition addressed to the Prime Minister and the Attorney General calling for the charges against Lena Hendry to be immediately dropped - Do also call on friends to also go sign this petition

We certainly also do want laws that say that we have send each and every video/CD that we have or use to the Film Censorship Board - repeal such bad laws. That will affect civil society groups, political parties, trade unions and worker groups, consumer groups...and many others because in this period it is common to use such medium to communicate messages, create awareness, generate discussions, etc - 

Section 6  Unapproved film or film-publicity material.
(1) No person shall-

(a) have in his possession or in his custody or under his control; or
(b) circulate, exhibit, distribute, display, manufacture, produce, sell or hire,
any film or film-publicity material which has not been approved by the Board.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction-
(a) in respect of any film, to a fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than thirty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both; or
(b) in respect of any film-publicity material, to a fine of not less than one thousand ringgit and not more than ten thousand ringgit.
(3) This section shall not apply to any film or film-publicity material in respect of which a certificate of exemption has been issued under subsection 8(3) so long as any conditions subject to which the certificate is issued are complied with.
[For more on the law used and matters related ]
And the charge against Lena Hendry is as follows - note the English version is only a rough translation of the original Malay


That you on 03.07.2013 at about 9.00 pm at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maharajalela, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, in the district of  Dang Wangi, in the Federal Territory of  Kuala Lumpur did screen a film entitled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka which have not yet been approved by the Board and as such committed a crime under Section 6(1)(b) Film Censorship Act 2002 and can be sentenced in accordance to Section 6(2)(a) of the same Act


Any person who is convicted for an offence under this section shall be liable to a fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than thirty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both

Bahawa kamu pada 03.07.2013 jam lebih kurang 9.00 malam di Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Jalan Maharajalela, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, di dalam daerah Dang Wangi, di dalam Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur didapati menayangkan filem bertajuk No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka yang belum diluluskan Lembaga dan dengan demikian telah melakukan kesalahan di bawah Seksyen 6(1)(b) Akta Penapisan Filem 2002 dan boleh dihukum di bawah Seksyen 6(2)(a) akta yang sama

Seseorang yang disabitkan atas suatu kesalahan di bawah seksyen ini boleh didenda tidak kurang daripada lima ribu ringgit dan tidak lebih daripada tiga puluh ribu ringgit atau dipenjarakan selama tempuh tidak melebihi tiga tahun atau kedua-duanya.

The usage, and existence, of such a law is bad. Having in my possession my home video, a video of a political ceramah or a talk at the Bar Council is also an offence

What is this government telling us by this action by having such laws and now charging Lena Hendry under such a bad law? We want to 'approve' all film/video/CD before Malaysians can have it, watch it or use it. 

As it is Malaysian government controls radio and TV - and there is almost zero space for the Opposition and alternative views. The winner of the recent by-election was also not interviewed by national TV...

Joint Statement – 2/10/2013(as of 15/10/2013)


We, the 116  undersigned  civil society groups, trade unions and organizations are shocked that the Malaysian government, after the recent General Election has resorted to charging human rights defender Lena Hendry on 19 September 2013 for being involved in the screening of a documentary "No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka" at a human rights event in Kuala Lumpur on  9 July 2013.
Lena Hendry was charged for an offence under the Film Censorship Act 2002, in connection with the screening of a video which was not  vetted and approved by the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia. If convicted, she faces the sentence of a ‘…fine of not less than five thousand ringgit and not more than thirty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both…’ She is charged under Section 6 of the Act that makes it an offence to, amongst others, to produce, manufacture, have in one’s possession, circulate, distribute and display such film or film-publicity material which has not been approved by the Board. This may include video material ranging from family videos, videos of political and human rights material including recordings of forums and speeches, videos about citizen rights including the right to free and fair elections or worker rights, and even videos about rights violations in other countries including Palestine.
A ‘…videotape, diskette, laser disc, compact disc, hard disc and other record of a sequence of visual images, being a record capable of being used as a means of showing that sequence as a moving picture, whether or not accompanied by sound…”, is also included in the definition of ‘film’ as provided for in Section 3 of the Film Censorship Act. It is absurd that in Malaysia, the law requires one to get approval of the Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board for all such material.

The Act is also discriminatory as it does not apply, amongst others, to “...any film sponsored by the Federal Government or the Government of any State...”. The government does not need to obtain approval from the Censorship Board, but everyone else is expected to do so. 

At present, the practice of getting approval from the Film Censorship Board usually applies to films screened in cinemas and cineplexes to a paying audience. Even when it comes to television, it is believed that there may be no pre-requirement for getting approval from the Censorship Board for all that is shown except for feature movies.

The charging of Lena Hendry in September 2013 by the Malaysia government is seen as an effort to limit access to information and alternative views particularly those highlighting human rights violations and alternative perspectives. This violates individual and civil society and public rights to information, freedom of expression and opinion. 

If the screening and usage of such material incites a criminal act, or violates another person’s rights, there are existing laws to address this. There is no requirement for any prior government approval or ‘censorship’.

In Reporters Without Borders’ 2013 World Press Freedom Index, Malaysia has fallen to its lowest-ever position because of the decreasing access to information. Malaysia embarrassingly dropped 23 places, and now ranks 145 out of 179.
Article 1 of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms states clearly that “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at  national and international levels.”

Lena Hendry, has the right to ‘…freely  publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms…’, and that should include the right to use films, documentaries and other video materials. 

To advocate a policy or a law that says that film or video material must be pre-approved by the government before it can be used is in itself a violation of principles of human rights and the UN Human Rights Defender Declaration. 
Therefore, we

a) Call on the Malaysian Government to immediately and unconditionally drop the criminal charges against Lena Hendry;

b) Call for the repeal of provisions in the Film Censorship Act 2002 that obligates persons to seek approval of the government vis-à-vis the Film Censorship Board before a film, videotape, diskette, laser disc, compact disc, hard disc and other record of a sequence of visual images can be used;

c) Call on the Malaysian government to recognize, promote and respect human rights, including those contained in the UN Human Rights Defenders Declaration

Charles Hector
Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf the 116 organisations listed below
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), Malaysia
Angkatan Rakyat Muda (ARM), Malaysia
Aksi  For Gender, Social And Ecological Justice, Indonesia
ASEAN Youth Assembly
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, law and Development (APWLD)
Academy of Tamil Studies, Malaysia
Boat People SOS
Burma Partnership
Cambodian Human Rights Association ( ADHOC )
Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP), Philippines
Civil Right Committee of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Malaysia
Center for Orang  Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia
Centre of Education. Research and Development (CEDAR) Malaysia
Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia
Child Development Initiative Malaysia
Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), Malaysia
Community Action Network, Malaysia
Community Resource Centre
Council of Temples Malaysia
Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur
Dignity International
Empower Foundation, Thailand
Federation of Indian Non-Governmental Organisations
Foundation for Women, Thailand
Friends of Burma, Chiang Mai
Gabungan Pertubuhan-pertubuhan Masyarakat India Selangor
Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) Filipinas
Group of Concerned Citizens Malaysia
Human Rights Ambassador for, UK
Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Indonesia
Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE) Malaysia
Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) , Malaysia
JERIT, Malaysia
Kelab Bangsar Utama, Malaysia
Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja Pekerja Perusahaan Alat Alat Pengangkutan Dan Sekutu(NUTEAIW)
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)
Kuala Lumpur Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
Law and Society Trust, Colombo Sri Lanka
LLG Cultural Development Centre, Malaysia
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates
Malaysian Dravidian Association
Malaysians for Beng Hock
Malaysian Hindu Youth Council
Malaysian Indian Business Association
Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association
Malaysian Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
Malaysian Indian Historical Association
Malaysia Indian Progressive Educational Society
Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement
Malaysia Tamil Artiste Association
MAP Foundation, Thailand
MARUAH, Singapore
Migrant CARE
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Pahang
National Union of Bank Employees, Malaysia (NUBE)
Nationwide Human Development And Research Centre Malaysia
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia ( NAMM)
Network for Democracy and Development
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Pax Romana ICMICA
Peace Institute of Cambodia
Peace Women Across the Globe Indonesia
Peoples' Empowerment Foundation (PEF), Thailand
Peoples Service Organisation (PSO) , Malaysia
Perkumpulan Tafena Tabua, Kupang - Indonesia
Persahabatan Semparuthi Johore, Malaysia 
Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor (PSWS), Malaysia
Projek Dialog, Malaysia
SABM Melbourne, Australia
Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee, Malaysia
SALT(School of Acting Justly Loving Tenderly and Treading Humbly), Malaysia
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
Selangor Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
Semparuthi Iyakkam Malaysia
Sisters In Islam, Malaysia
SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)
Tenaganita, Malaysia
The Asian Muslim Action Network (Aman) Indonesia
The Association of Women Lawyers, Malaysia
The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec, Canada
VIVAT International-Indonesia
WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
Women's Centre for Change (WCC) Penang
Women's Network for the Advancement and Peace, Thailand
Women's Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) Nepal
World Tamil Federation – Malaysian Chapter
Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI), Malaysia
Yaung Chi Oo Workers Association, Thailand
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA Batam - Indonesia
Youth for Peace Cambodia
Advocacy and Policy Institute (API), Cambodia
Labour Behind the Lablel, United Kingdom
Forum for Democracy in Burma
Bersihkan Malaysia Perth, Australia
Women's Aid Organisation, Malaysia
WAC, Phillipines
Housing Rights Task Force, Cambodia.
NLD LA Malaysia
Tourism Employees Association of Maldives" (TEAM)
CEREAL (Centro de Reflexión y Acción Laboral)
Cividep India
Think Centre, Singapore
Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific, Malaysia
PROHAM -Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia


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