Hundreds march in press freedom rally in Malaysia's KL

KUALA LUMPUR - Hundreds of people gathered to march in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on Saturday as part of a rally calling for press and information freedom.

The Malaysian Insider reported that some 400 journalists, lawyers, members of civil society groups and the public attended the rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur, held to protest against the three-month suspension of well-regarded publications The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily. The two publications had come under a government clampdown after reporting extensively on troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The rally was organised by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Coalition of Press Freedom.

The marchers had gathered at the Bar Council headquarters early Saturday morning before heading to Central Market, located about 100m away.


Carrying posters calling for press freedom and demanding freedom of information, they shouted slogans such as "Free the media" and "We support the media", the Malaysiakini website reported.

Umno's former deputy minister Saifuddin Abdullah also took part to show his solidarity. Saifuddin was recently in the spotlight after he was announced as the public face of a new NGO that will soon be set up by banker Nazir Razak, the younger brother of beleaguered Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Others who took part in the march included former Bar Council president and human rights activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen, the Malaysian Insider reported.

The Edge publications were suspended last month by the Home Ministry over its 1MDB coverage, which was deemed prejudicial to national security.

The Home Ministry had issued the suspensions over what it said were The Edge's repeated allegations of wrongdoing by 1MDB, whose board of advisers is led by Najib.

The Edge Media Group has filed a judicial challenge to the suspensions.