|Media access restricted during Bersih 3.0|
|Friday, 27 July 2012 08:41am|
©The Sun Daily (Used by permission)
by Alyaa Alhadjri
KUALA LUMPUR (July 26, 2012): Police appeared to have breached a provision under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA) which regulates media access during public gatherings, Suhakam's inquiry on the Bersih 3.0 rally heard today.
Online news portal Malaysiakini journalist Koh Jun Lin told the panel that media personnel on duty during the rally were prevented from getting a clear view of incidents which took place, as they were instructed to stand behind the police line.
Koh said he was running towards Dataran Merdeka at about 3pm after being informed that teargas had been fired there, until he faced a row of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel.
"I saw people running in the opposite direction ... I kept going until I reached a row of FRUs and was told to stand behind the line," Koh told the panel headed by Suhakam commissioner Dr Khaw Lake Tee.
Koh said he could see from his position how the FRU fired teargas canisters, and several ambulances moving back and forth. "I could not see anything else. It was only after the line moved forward that I managed to walk around the area to take photographs of trash left on the road," he added.
At one point, lawyer Mahaletchumi Balakrishnan, who was holding a watching brief for election watchdog Bersih 2.0, asked Koh if the police had violated Section 24 of the PAA which states "any media representative may have reasonable access to a place of assembly and use any equipment to report on the assembly".
"Based on your experience, would you agree that the police breached the section?" asked Mahaletchumi, to which Koh agreed.
Koh told the panel how he was arrested after photographing a face-off between protesters and police at the intersection of Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Parlimen.
"The officers tugged at the press tag in my photographers vest pocket. I took it off for them to see but they confiscated it along with my camera.
"They grabbed me by my backpack and took me to the Royal Selangor Club along with a few hundred detainees," said Koh.
He was eventually taken to the police training centre in Jalan Semarak and later released after an officer claimed that his arrest was a "mistake", he said.
|< Prev||Next >|