Media groups to rally over Edge suspension
Published:  Jul 25, 2015 7:49 AM
Updated: 5:16 PM

Media groups will be organising a rally to protest Putrajaya's suspension of two newspapers under The Edge Media Group for exposing alleged misappropriation of funds in finance ministry-owned 1MDB.

The announcement was made in a joint statement by Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm), Institute of Journalists (IoJ), Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), and Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia.

"In light of the recent developments, as groups representing the journalistic profession, we the undersigned have collectively gathered as a coalition to condemn the Home Ministry’s decision to suspend The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily's publishing permits for three months effective July 27," it said.

The coalition said the rally will take place on Aug 8 and will be backed by the public and civil society in Kuala Lumpur, but the exact location has yet to be finalised.

It added that a solidarity rally will also be held outside The Edge headquarters in Petaling Jaya on July 31 at 3pm.

"To the media, this is an issue that should affect us all. We are all #AtTheEdge.

"What has happened to The Edge is not something new and will not be the last, unless all of us collectively speak up against such acts," it said.

Freedom of information

The Edge had alleged that US$1.83 billion of 1MDB's funds was siphoned away in its joint venture with PetroSaudi International.

This is based on information - including email correspondents belonging to PetroSaudi - that was allegedly stolen by its former director Xavier Andre Justo.

The Edge owner Tong Kooi Ong had admitted to misleading Justo in order to obtain the information without paying him as demanded, citing public interest.

The media coalition said while it acknowledged the ethical debates behind how the information was obtained, it also highlighted the need for media to be given fair access to information, such as in the 1MDB case.

"It is time to move from a regime of Official Secrets to one of Freedom of Information, whereby information should by default be a public right.

"We demand a stop to political intervention in media affairs and that media access to information that is of interest to public is not hindered either by law or process," it said.

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