This time they are protesting the Home Ministry’s decision to revoke the publishing permit of FZ Daily.
PETALING JAYA: Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) and its Wear Red campaign for press freedom has returned – this time to lend support to FZ Daily: the newspaper has not even come out with its first issue but has fallen “victim” to the Home Ministry.
The group of journalists, who first teamed up to protest the suspension of news weekly The Heat, is calling for all Malaysians to wear red once a week to show their dissatisfaction over the revocation of FZ Daily’s permit last Wednesday.
“Geramm views the (home) ministry’s action as unreasonable particularly as it was reported that no reasons were provided for its decision, according to a letter issued to the publisher,” Geramm said in a statement.
“We also believe that the Home Ministry is not giving serious attention to issues of press freedom in Malaysia and have yet to learn its lesson based on public’s anger over government’s iron fist control of the media.”
FZ daily, which has yet to hit newsstands, found its permit revoked just hours after the publisher, The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd was granted leave to initiate proceedings against the Home Ministry for deferring its initial approval of the permit.
But Geramm pointed out today that the Appeals Court last year had clearly stated that a publishing permit was a right, not a privilege.
They cited the Home Ministry’s appeal against its rejection of Malaysiakini’s permit application. The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the online news portal, upholding an initial court decision on the matter.
“Apart from that, in the case of FZ Daily, Geramm is also of the view that the credibility of The Edge Communications as its publisher is unquestionable as they have been a major industry player and has established its credibility among the public.
“We would like to firmly reiterate that the FZ Daily’s permit revokation is not something new but is only the latest in a series of publishing permit revocation including what happened to Malaysiakini, The Heat (2013), Suara Keadilan (2010) and Harakah (2009).”
Geramm proposed the Wear Red Campaign take place every Wednesday, as that was the day FZ’s permit was revoked.
It also proposed to begin anew its Facebook and Twitter campaign, this time utilising the hashtag #FZDaily.
Meanwhile, Geramm also condemned the police for “targeting” journalists as an “easy way out” to carry out their investigations.
“We therefore stress that a journalist’s responsibility is to report “as it is” and is merely the messenger of information. If this trend continues, it can impede us from carrying out our duties without fear or favor.”
Police today summoned fz.com journalist Azril Annuar to assist with investigations on his article on the Kajang by-election, titled “Analyst: Will Rafizi quit if Selangor is not toppled?”.
He was investigated due to his report of Rafizi’s comments alleging that Umno Selangor was inciting racial and religious tension over the Kalimah Allah issue and the party’s protest in a field near a church in Klang, according to Geramm.