World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Malaysia, 28 July 2015

Protest Campaign - Malaysia, 28 July 2015

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The Right Honourable Najib Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

27 July 2015


Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at the closure of two newspapers for reporting on a financial scandal.

According to reports, on 24 July the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the publishing licence of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from 27 July. The Ministry claimed that their reporting on the financial scandal surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a heavily indebted, government-owned development fund, was "prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest". The newspapers will reportedly continue to publish online and plan to contest the closure of the print editions in court.

Edge Media outlets have published a series of investigations into 1MDB that have questioned the role played by you as Chairman of the fund’s Board, the Saudi oil company PetroSaudi International and investors including well-known financier Jho Low in fraud allegations amounting to more than $1.8 billion.

We are concerned that this is part of a systematic campaign by your government to intimidate publications investigating wrongdoing at 1MDB. We respectfully remind you that suspending newspapers for their reporting would be a breach of the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

In addition, allowing free and fair reporting of alleged wrongdoing is central to news media's mission to provide the information citizens need to make informed decisions, and is a necessary and essential condition for development, be it economic, political, cultural or social.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Marcelo Rech
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organisation groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2015-07-28 16:45

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...