Covering press conferences not a crime, says Gan

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Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan, who was charged with regard to videos critical of the attorney-general, said covering press conferences is not a crime.

The award-winning journalist, who claimed trial to the four charges under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, described the move as harassment.

Gan was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions (Cyber) Court this morning for airing an offensive video on the KiniTV website.

The videos were of a press conference called by former Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan after he lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) urging the commission to reopen its investigation into 1MDB.

At the press conference, Khairuddin referred to the US Department of Justice's civil suit and questioned why attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali cleared Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

"Yet again, we see action being taken against the media for covering a press conference. This is clearly a case of pure harassment," said Gan in a statement.

"We shall defend ourselves vigorously and prove in court that by covering the press conference, we did not commit any crime but were merely doing our job as journalists," he added.

Gan also noted there appeared to be a matter of conflict of interest here, where the AG's Chambers charged a media organisation for uploading a video which allegedly insulted the AG.

"We will discuss with our lawyers the likelihood of subpoenaing the AG to testify in the trial.

"He will have to explain why reporting someone describing a public official as worthless is a crime," he added.

If convicted, the company and Gan stand to face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a one-year jail term.

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