More than 300 journalists, activists, lawyers, and concerned citizens gathered in Kuala Lumpur's Central Market on August 8 to protest the suspension of two newspapers and the blocking of a news website by the Malaysian government. The event, which is part of the #AtTheEdge campaign, deplored the action of the government as blatant media censorship.
Last July 19, the Sarawak Report whistleblower website was blocked in Malaysia for posting ‘unverified information’ about the corruption scandal involving 1MDB, a state-managed investment company. A few days later, two newspapers of The Edge were suspended for three months for allegedly releasing fabricated documents related to 1MDB. The issue also implicates Prime Minister Najib Razak after the Wall Street Journal published a report alleging that he got 700 million US dollars in bank transfers through the 1MDB.
After gathering at the market, the crowd marched toward the Bar Council building. The rally demanded the protection of free speech, the unblocking of news websites, the revocation of the suspension order against The Edge, and the recognition of the public right to know all information about the 1MDB.
Below are some of the placards and banners used in the rally:
Here are some photos on Twitter using the hashtag #AtTheEdge:
— CIJ Malaysia (@CIJ_Malaysia) August 8, 2015
— HRC Malaysian Bar (@hrc_bar) August 8, 2015
— Sumisha Naidu (@sumishanaidu) August 8, 2015
— Khairil Yusof (@kaerumy) August 8, 2015
— Umapagan (@umapagan) August 8, 2015
Writing on Facebook, Aruna Sena expressed solidarity:
Curbing the media and curbing access to media is a blatant act of power to limit us, human beings, to our right to source information and news. It is also a blatant act to curb freedom of speech as well as limiting journalism.
All hope is not lost as I witness beforehand media players standing up for their right to report and deliver information to us the people #atTheEdge event yesterday. And that is a wonderful sight to see.
— Yin Shao Loong (@yinshaoloong) August 8, 2015
— #AtTheEdge, Malaysia (@AtTheEdgeMsia) August 8, 2015
A bigger rally is being arranged on August 29. This time the issue is no longer limited to media freedom. Dubbed Bersih 4, the rally demands the resignation of the prime minister.