“This is nothing. Why do you call it a crackdown? This is quite normal. We always give reminders to newspapers or political parties which publish organs regardless of whether it is the BN or other parties.”
DEPUTY Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung, who said the suspension of two opposition party newspapers under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) was not part of the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s strategy in disadvantaging its opponents in the Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai by-elections.
According to Chor, close surveillance and action against media organisations are routine, and in this instance were not politically motivated. (Source: Chor Denies Harakah, Suara Keadilan Suspension BN Agenda, Bernama, 24 March 2009)
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) weekly Suara Keadilan and PAS fortnightly Harakah were suspended for three months effective 23 March, preventing both from writing on the recently concluded Umno general assembly and the 7 April by-elections.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, responding to questions about the suspensions, said both organs “were still publishing untrue stories after they were given warnings.”
PKR has since announced the weekly publication of Suara Keamanan. As it is “not a periodical from its name”, it does not require a permit from the Home Ministry under the PPPA, the party said.
“The discs cannot be distributed without approval under the Film Censorship Act 2002.”
Ipoh City police chief assistant commissioner Azisman Alias, on the seizure of over 30 copies of the Rampasan Kuasa BN di Perak DVD. The DVD contains footage of Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons being barred from the Perak state secretariat, and their subsequent emergency sitting under a nearby rain tree. (Source: Police seize DVDs on under-the-tree assembly, New Straits Times, 30 March 2009)
DAP’s Tebing Tinggi assemblyperson Ong Boon Piow, who produced the DVDs, was arrested for “manufacturing, circulating, distributing, and displaying the content of the DVD without first getting a ‘B’ certificate from the Film Censorship Board.” DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang deplored Ong’s arrest, saying it was a sign of what to expect under Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s new administration. The authorities maintain they are acting legally.
“China’s government manages the internet according to law.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang, responding to questions about the Chinese government’s control of internet video repository YouTube. The site was inaccessible in China for at least two days, after Tibet’s government-in-exile released a video that allegedly showed Chinese police beating Tibetan protesters, some in monk’s robes. (Source: YouTube Blocked in China for 2nd Day After Tibet Clip, Bloomberg, 25 March 2009)