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Malaysiakini journalist facing harassment, racist attacks on Facebook

Malaysiakini journalist Kow Gah Chie is being harassed on Facebook over an article she wrote regarding Environment Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man defending logging in Kelantan.

The attacks mainly come from a Facebook post that has gone viral.

Uploaded on Thursday, the post seeks to imply that Malaysiakini's article on the matter had been fabricated as it was not asked at Tuan Ibrahim's press conference the day before, which had been streamed live.

The article was actually based on a doorstop, where reporters, including from Malaysiakini, spoke to the minister after the press conference.

A video of the doorstop interview is available on Kinitv.

The posting, which contains personal attacks to Kow, also draws attention to the fact that she was previously with the Chinese news desk.

As of writing, the posting has been shared more than 2,900 times and has more than 2,200 comments.

Most of the comments are racist in nature, with many calling the Malaysiakini journalist "babi" (pig).

Some suggested that she should be physically harmed, or spat at.

The posting also accused Malaysiakini of dividing Muslims.

The posting had been reported to Facebook for action. However, Facebook rejected the report saying "it doesn't go against any of the Community Standards".

Facebook's Community Standards state that it does not allow hate speech.

"We define hate speech as a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics – race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity and serious disease or disability," the social media platform said.

A review of the rejected complaint saw the post being taken down for several hours.

However, this was overturned, and subsequent requests for review were rejected.

"A specialist from our team reviewed the photo again and confirmed that it doesn't go against any of our Community Standards, including harassment and bullying," Facebook said.

Malaysiakini has been attempting to contact Facebook directly since Friday.

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah (photo, above) in a statement tonight, called for attacks against Kow to stop.

"Some netizens have crossed the line, including by spreading her photo, making racist comments, and threatening the journalist," she said.

Maria said such actions were criminal and an attack on media freedom.

Media group Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) also condemned the harassment against Kow.

"Threats or attacks in any form towards journalists are unacceptable," they said.

"Also regretted, is that efforts to report the individual (who made the posting) to Facebook have been rejected, on the excuse that it did not go against 'community standards'," they added.

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