Statement: MPC and Alliance for Journalists' Freedom stand with Al Jazeera journalists

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The Melbourne Press Club is again calling on Malaysia to immediately cease its criminal investigation into five Australian journalists over their fair and balanced reporting for Al Jazeera, after the media organisation's Kuala Lumpur offices were raided.

The journalists, including multi-award winning journalist Drew Ambrose, face the serious prospect of jail time in Malaysia for a documentary about undocumented migrant workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five Australian journalists were hauled into police headquarters for questioning in July along with one other Al Jazeera journalist.

They are being investigated over allegations of defamation, sedition and violation of the country’s Communications and Multimedia Act.

The Alliance for Journalists' Freedom released a statement about the situation today.  

“Investigating the report as an act of sedition is absurd. As far as we can see there was and has been no attempt by these journalists to overthrow the government,"  AJF spokesperson and director Peter Greste said.

“Most viewers saw a report that turned out to be critical of government policy. In a democracy, this can be the outcome of a free press."

MPC President Nick McKenzie reiterated his previous call to drop the investigation.

“These journalists were simply doing their job and they should not be treated like criminals.”

“Their reporting was fair and balanced and they should be free to do their jobs without fear of retribution from the government.”

The Melbourne Press Club is concerned for their safety and will do everything it can to protect and promote press freedom in Australia and abroad.

CONTACT: Nick McKenzie 0401 877 402

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