Surendran slams "SINISTER" MOVE by the police to issue special press tags for Jan 12 rally
I refer to the move by the police to issue special tags to journalists
covering the opposition-led 'Kebangkitan Rakyat' rally on 12 January.
This move is sinister, unlawful and restrictive of the freedom of the
The media must be free to cover news events at any place without
hindrances or cumbersome procedures. Neither the police nor any other
state body should be allowed to control or restrict the press in their
coverage of public events by the issuance of tags or passes. The usual
press tags worn by journalists are adequate for purposes of
Gives police control over the media
The issuance of the tags create a dangerous precedent by which the
authorities could control the dissemination of news by giving or
withholding special passes. This is a real danger under the rule of the
BN government, which already exercises excessive and undemocratic
controls over the print and electronic media.
This move also runs foul of section 24 of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012
which imposes a duty upon the government and police authority to allow
media representatives 'reasonable access' to places of assembly.
Pressuring the media to wear police-issued tags is not 'reasonable
access'. It also contravenes Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal
Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression, including press
It is a poor excuse to say that the tags are necessary to prevent a
repeat of the assaults or interference with journalists by police which
occurred during the Bersih 3.0 rally. The correct response is to
expeditiously investigate and prosecute police personnel involved in
criminal misconduct upon media or the public during assemblies.
modules must also be improved and respect for fundamental rights among
police personnel strengthened. We call upon the BN government and the
IGP to urgently withdraw this new restriction upon the media.