Police of Kubang Pasu is Urged to Respect Press Freedom

Media Statement
by Teresa Kok

(Petaling Jaya,  Wednesday): It was reported in the Malay Mail that Fazli Ahmad, a Kedah-based TV3 journalist, was questioned by Police Special Branch officers from the Kubang Pasu police station over an environmental issue that he reported recently. The police questioned Fazli over his 'agenda' for reporting the land and hill clearing incident at the Bukit Perangin forest reserve in Kubang Pasu, near the Ah Ning water catchment in Padang Terap and Sebapin forest in Jalan Kuala Nerang, Sintok. The report was aired by TV3's Buletin Utama on February 27 (The Malay Mail, 8/3/2005).

It is not a problem for anyone to question a journalist's 'agenda' through proper channel, such as writing to the editor. However, it is wrong for the Special Branch to grill a journalist over his report.

I call on the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Bakri Omar to reprimand the OCPD of Kubang Pasu and the Officer-in-charge (ASP Abdul Sani Ahmad) for interfering with press freedom.

The police should have more important things to attend to, particularly to maintain law and order and to combat crime. The police should learn to respect the role and profession of journalists. They should assist the journalists in carrying out their duty rather than obstructing and threatening journalists in the discharge of their role as the fourth estate in a democratic society.


* Teresa Kok Suh Sim, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Seputeh