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Would Allow Unchecked Powers to Punish News Outlets, Journalists

The Pakistani government is seeking broad new powers to control the media as part of its crackdown on freedom of expression. Journalists, human rights activists, and political leaders across that country have raised the alarm about proposed…
Pakistani journalists and activists at a demonstration called by the journalists union to condemn attacks on the media, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 28, 2021.
News

Authorities Should Stop Stifling Dissent, Protect the Media

(New York) – A recent series of attacks and growing pressure on journalists who criticize the Pakistan government is a cause for serious concern, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists said today. Those…
 Pakistani journalist Asad Ali Toor, center, speaks during a demonstration to condemn the attack on journalists, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
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Surge in Police Harassment of Journalists, Activists, Protesters

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities are increasingly using criminal investigations to harass journalists, protest leaders, and various other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today. Many are facing potential prosecution and have…
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With GE15 on the horizon, there is a grave risk that arrests will continue to rise. Respect for freedom of speech in Malaysia is in free fall - a decline illustrated by two recent arrests. On the evening of Friday, April 23, seven police…
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attending parliament session at parliament lower house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 13, 2020.
News

New Law Criminalizes Expression, Violates Privacy Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities should revoke a new “fake news” ordinance that poses a serious threat to freedom of expression and privacy and the right to a fair trial, Human Rights Watch said today. The Emergency (Essential Powers) (No. 2)…
A television shows a live broadcast of Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at a shopping outlet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. 
News

Decision Holding Portals Liable Poses Serious Risk to Freedom of Speech

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian Federal Court decision holding an online news site responsible for reader comments contravenes international human rights standards and will chill free speech in Malaysia, Human Rights Watch said today. The court on…
Malaysiakini's editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to the media at the Federal Court in in Putrajaya, Malaysia on February 19, 2021. 
News

Government Should Protect Journalists, Not Suppress Free Speech

As part of its crackdown on freedom of expression, the Pakistani government is seeking sweeping new powers to control the media. Journalists across Pakistan have raised the alarm about proposed legislation that would augment the powers of the Pakistan…
Pakistani journalists hold nationwide protests to denounce rampant censorship, and hold a banner that reads: "black day," in Karachi, Pakistan, July 16, 2019.
News

Immunity, Police Powers for Military Raise Risk of Abuse

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s recently announced Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance is overly broad and should urgently be revised to meet international human rights standards, Human Rights Watch said today. The ordinance, announced on January 14,…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
News

Editor’s Jailing Shows Reality of Media Crackdown

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan asserted there is no media crackdown in Pakistan, and that he and his government are far more “unprotected” than the media. Mir Shakilur Rehman, editor-in-chief of the Jang group, the largest media organization in…
Pakistani police escort Mir Shakilur Rehman to court following his arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, March 13, 2020.
News

Arrest of Bangladeshi in Documentary Violates Free Speech Rights

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian authorities’ arrest of a Bangladeshi migrant worker who was featured in an Al Jazeera documentary is clear retaliation for his criticism of government policies towards migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities…
News

Anti-Corruption Laws Abused to Silence Critics

Pakistani authorities should immediately drop politically motivated charges and release Mir Shakilur Rehman, an editor with Pakistan’s largest media group, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should also stop harassing Rehman’s…
Pakistani police escort Mir Shakilur Rehman to court following his arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, March 13, 2020.
News

Abusive Investigations for Critical Speech on the Rise

(Bangkok) – Malaysian authorities are increasingly responding to criticism of the government by initiating criminal investigations, Human Rights Watch said today. Journalists, civil society activists, and ordinary people have all recently faced…
Perdana Menteri Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin berbicara dalam sebuah konferensi pers setelah pertemuan kabinet pertama di kantor perdana menteri di Putrajaya, Malaysia, 11 Maret 2020.
News

Backtracking on Free Expression, Accountability, LGBT Rights

(Bangkok) – Malaysia’s promised human rights reforms stalled in 2019 as the government either backed away from or delayed action on its campaign commitments, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020. “Malaysia’s reform…
Protesters hold placards reading " Save Malaysia, Arrest the Thief " during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
News

Keep Pledge to Repeal Abusive Laws

(New York) – The Malaysian government should reinstate its moratorium on using the Sedition Act pending the law’s repeal, Human Rights Watch said today. Previous Malaysian governments have used the broadly-worded law, which goes well beyond…
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad listens to questions during an interview with foreign media on one years anniversary of government in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Thursday, May 9, 2019.
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Keep Election Promise to Abolish National Security Council Act

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government is breaking a key election pledge by proposing to amend rather than repeal an abusive national security law, Human Rights Watch said today. The government on April 9, 2019, put before Parliament a bill to amend…
Section from Malaysia ruling party’s election manifesto, “Buku Harapan: Rebuilding Our Nation, Fulfilling Our Hopes,” promising to repeal abusive laws including the National Security Act of 2016.
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New Government Steps Back from Reform Agenda

(Bangkok) – The Malaysian government should reconsider its decision to lift the moratorium on laws previously used to repress dissent, Human Rights Watch said today. The government announced on November 30, 2018, that the cabinet had lifted its…
Riot police members stand guard at the Seafield temple on November 27, 2018 in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The priest says there are criminal elements involved in the attack on the temple yesterday. Temple chief priest Jeyakumar Subramaniam said he s
News

Broadly Worded Bill Threatens Free Expression

(New York) – The government of Malaysia’s proposed law criminalizing “fake news” is a frontal attack on free expression and should be withdrawn, Human Rights Watch said today. A clear target of the legislation is discussion in…
Commuters sit in front of an advertisement discouraging the dissemination of fake news, at a train station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 28, 2018.
News

Rights Activists, Religious Freedom Under Attack

(New York) – The Malaysian government cracked down on activists and opposition politicians critical of the government in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2018. With corruption allegations still casting a long…
201801wr_malaysia_human_rights People attend an anti-kleptocracy rally in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 14, 2017.
News

Women, Religious Groups, Refugees Endure Violence, Intimidation

(New York) – Pakistan’s government did little to protect vulnerable groups and religious minorities from attack by militant groups in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The authorities clamped down on civil society groups for…
Supporters of the Gender Interactive Alliance dance and chant slogans as they pose with a national flag ahead of the Independence Day in Karachi, August 13, 2016.
News

Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.