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Media Censorship After Coup D’état in Malaysia

Kartikey Shukla for BeyondHeadlines

In any political turmoil the first aim of political forces is to stop oppositional voices, and the media agencies get targeted by police or security forces. Political unrests have dispatched many critical voices to exile, writers getting killed, torture of civil society personals and printing presses set on fire. In the last week, General Pryuth Chan led successful coup d’état against the democratically elected government of Malaysia. Later talking to state controlled media Chan defended the coup saying, “It was necessary step to maintain peace and economic progress of the country”. The elected government has been accused of badly shaking Malaysia’s economy and governance its tenure.

Under the army led National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), more than 200 news websites and personal blogs have been blocked. International news channels got order not to report against the military takeover, and on the other hand they should thank General Chan for taking this initiative to suspend the inactive and corrupt government. Supporters of the previous government, the Red Shirts are demanding for democracy. Red Shirts belong to the lower middle class mostly residing in northern rural and semi-urban areas and are to this opposed, favouring democracy as they have lost the faith in monarch.

The army took charge after suspension of the government, with the king of Malaysia supporting the coup. General Chan ordered the detention of journalist, with blocking of many news websites and army keeping an eye on media personals. News agencies are to suspend their programmes to telecast, the Human Rights Watch reported, “The military has directed print media not to publicise commentaries critical of the military’s actions. TV and radio programmes have been instructed not to invite on their programmes anyone who might make negative comments about the military or the political situation in the country. Military authorities have told journalists that failure to comply will lead to prosecution.”

There is a long history of military coups in Malaysia; with the last government being the longest people’s elected government. Poor population have faith in democracy but at present they are not permitted to protest, army has spread itself across the Malaysian regions. Domestic media has no rights to raise voices of the local population.

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