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Malaysian journalist threatened on social media after questioning government tactics

This statement was originally published on on 20 March 2015.

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) condemns the threats of violence that have been made against BFM 89.9 journalist Aisyah Tajuddin on social media. The threats, including death and rape threats, were made following a video of Aisyah where she questions the PAS-led Kelantan government attempts to implement hudud when many in the state are still badly affected by the floods suffered in late-2014/early-2015.

CIJ calls on the police to investigate the threats of violence that have been made against Aisyah. It is precisely this type of expression, which directly threatens the bodily integrity of another person, that can be legitimately restricted, according to our Constitution and international human rights standards. CIJ calls on police to take threats of actual violence and rape seriously, instead of focusing on expression that is critical of the government but does not threaten harm to any person or group.

CIJ also defends the freedom of expression of Aisyah and BFM 89.9 in producing and posting the video commenting on the implementation of hudud [an Islamic concept that defines "crimes against God"] in Kelantan. The passing of the state enactment on hudud has serious implications and has been the subject of debate, both amongst Muslims and non-Muslims. Despite the video's light-hearted nature, it raises serious questions about our leaders' priorities in governance, and whether religion and race are often used to distract the people from important issues such as the state of our economy and rising debt. Those who disagree with the video's contents should debate the issues instead of resorting to threatening Aisyah with death and rape.

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