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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.
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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. 
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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. 
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1 Dead, Arrests for Facebook Posts and ‘Insulting Police’

(Tunis) – Police in several Tunisian governorates appear to have responded to social justice protests in recent weeks with excessive force at times, leaving one man dead and arresting hundreds, including many minors, Human Rights Watch said today.…
A protester holds up a sign saying “Police Everywhere, Justice Nowhere” during nation-wide protests calling for social justice and government reform on January 23, 2021, Avenue Habib Bourguiba, Tunis, Tunisia.
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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.
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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…
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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.
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New Government Should Suspend Abusive Laws

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s new government, approved by Parliament on February 27, 2020, should make human rights a priority, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should protect fundamental rights in eight key areas: ending criminal…
A general view of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in Tunis, Tunisia, May 2016.
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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.
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Repressive Laws Sap Free Expression

(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities are using laws on criminal defamation, “spreading false information,” and “harming others via public telecommunications networks” to prosecute people for their online commentary, Human Rights Watch said…
Revolutionary graffiti adorns a wall of the Prime Minister's office in Tunis, January 22, 2011.
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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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Law’s Reach Depends on Enforcement

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s first freedom of information law, approaching its third anniversary, significantly advances the rights of citizens to get information from publicly funded institutions, Human Rights Watch said today. The law’s real…
The standard form for filing a request for information under Tunisia’s 2016 “Right to Access Information Law” (Law No. 2016-22).
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Arrests, Charges Lead to Self-Censorship

(Tunis) – Tunisian authorities are investigating, charging, and in some cases detaining bloggers and social media activists merely for their peaceful criticism of public officials, Human Rights Watch said today. Several said they have begun to…
Revolutionary graffiti adorns a wall of the Prime Minister's office in Tunis, January 22, 2011.
News

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
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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.
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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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.