‘Locked up in Malaysia’ triggers raid on Al Jazeera bureau

The broadcast network viewed the investigation as an attack not only on itself but on press freedom as a whole

KUALA LUMPUR: Police raided the Al Jazeera Malaysia office and seized computers as part of a probe into the network’s documentary “Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown,” aired on July 3. It highlighted the country’s treatment of undocumented migrant workers during the curfew.

“Three broadcast centers belonging to Al Jazeera, Astro and Unifi TV were searched,” Federal Police Criminal Investigation Department Director CP Huzir Mohammed said, the Arab News reported.

Astro is a private broadcasting network, while UnifiTV is a television streaming service owned by Malaysia’s telecommunications provider Telekom.

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“The raids were carried out in cooperation with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. Seized computers will be sent to the commission for analysis,” Huzir said.

“Police recorded witness statements that will be sent to the Attorney General’s office as part of the investigation,” he added.

Al Jazeera immediately condemned the raid, saying it followed global condemnation of Malaysia’s treatment with undocumented migrant workers during the lockdown. The channel viewed the investigation as an attack not only on itself but on press freedom as a whole, Arab News said.

“Al Jazeera calls on the Malaysian authorities to cease this criminal investigation into our journalists,” said Giles Trendle, managing director of Al Jazeera English.

On July 3, Al Jazeera’s “101 East” current affairs program aired the documentary over unfair treatment with undocumented migrant workers. Three weeks later, Mohamad Rayhan Kabir, a Bangladeshi national who was interviewed for the program, was arrested. Authorities said he would be “deported and blacklisted from entering Malaysia forever.”

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