Press Statement: 11 Sept 1999
A Black Mark for Journalism

SUARAM deeply regrets the decision of the Court of Appeals to uphold the decision to find Murray Hiebert, guilty of contempt of court and imposing a custodial sentence of 6 weeks jail.

Today's decision in which the Court of Appeals had chosen to interpret the law has further eroded press freedom in Malaysia.

In our country where journalists are already severely constrained in conducting their duties, Hiebert's conviction will serve to remind other journalists that press freedom is an illusion here.

Our judiciary is not above criticism, especially these days where their reputation is severely tested. In a civil society which respects freedom of expression and freedom of the press, the judiciary must be ever willing to display greater independence and accept criticism in their courts to uphold the rule of law.

SUARAM recognises Murray Hiebert to be another prisoner of conscience in Malaysia for exercising his fundamental rights and his duties.

Released by:

Elizabeth Wong