Putrajaya does not obstruct local or foreign press from carrying out their duties, but they have to abide by journalism ethics as well as the laws of this country, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“On behalf of the government and the Home Ministry, I do not hinder any local or foreign journalist from covering any events or interviewing any leaders.
“The journalism profession has its ethics… but when they cross the line we have to ensure our VVIPs are protected using security measures,” he said.
He was speaking at a media conference after chairing a meeting of the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation’s (MCPF) executive committee in Kuching today.
Zahid was asked to comment on the detention of two Australians who were arrested for breaking a security cordon while trying to interview Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Kuching last night.
Zahid said security personnel gave top priority to protect VVIPs and it should not be seen as impeding the freedom of the media.
“The act (keeping security) was to ensure journalism ethics are adhered to… the ethics in Malaysia should be observed and obeyed and the question of security should be given top priority by the authorities and journalists should respect the decision to keep security intact,” he said.
“I think if Malaysian journalists were abroad, they should also adhere to journalism ethics as well as the security factors in the country concerned,” he said.
Zahid said the detention of the two Australians could not be considered as obstructing foreign journalists.
“I think they have done the best for their media. But at the same time, they should respect the aspects of security enforced by the authorities in this country,” he said.
When asked about the action against the two foreigners, Zahid said he had left it to police to take further action.
“We hope what is important is respect for the law and observing the rules,” he said. – Bernama, March 13, 2016.