Write in defence of journalist union leader!
14 April 2011
ACTION ALERT: Write in defence of journalist union leader!
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) regrets the guilty verdict delivered today against National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia president Mohamed Ha’ta Wahari for allegedly tarnishing his employer’s image and revealing their “secrets”.
A domestic inquiry found the senior journalist with Utusan Malaysia guilty of eight charges that stemmed from reports of his statement published in Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider, The Sun and Merdeka Review regarding the dismal financial and ethical performances of the newspaper published by UMNO-owned Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd. The top management will decide the penalty to be imposed on Ha’ta in a fortnight.
Ha’ta has been suspended since 11 January pending the outcome of the domestic inquiry initiated on 6 January.
CIJ calls on all Malaysians to rally behind Ha’ta and send a message to the Utusan top management that it is within the right of an NUJ president to speak for the dignity and integrity of the profession, and reject political interference in the newsrooms.
Fair comment is allowed as part of the constitutional right to freedom of expression. Yet, the fact that punitive action can be taken against a journalist union leader for criticising the lack of the very freedom that is foundational to the work of journalists speaks volumes of the state of press freedom in Malaysia, which has never been strong since Operasi Lalang in 1987.
Write, expressing similar concerns, to:
Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim Ahmad Makaruddin
46M, Jalan Lima
Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin
55200 Kuala Lumpur
Fax: 603-9222 7876
National Union of Journalists Malaysia, nujmsia (a) streamyx.com
Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia, cijmalaysia (a) gmail.com
Berita Harian, bhsurat (a) bharian.com.my
Malaysiakini, editor (a) malaysiakini.com
New Straits Times, letters (a) nst.com.my
TheSun, letters (a) thesundaily.com
The Star, editor (a) thestar.com.my
Utusan Malaysia, forum (a) utusan.com.my