MALAYSIA: CPJ condemns suspension of newspaper

New York, February 27, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the
Malaysian government's suspension for two weeks of the publishing permit of the Chinese-language Berita Petang Sarawak newspaper for reprinting controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The cartoons accompanied a February 4 article headlined, "We are prepared for the jihad war," the official government news agency Bernama said in making the announcement today. The text of the story was not immediately available.

Bernama said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also Internal Security Minister, cited the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which bans printing or distributing material that could harm public peace and security, to close down the paper.

Berita Petang Sarawak is the only Chinese-language paper printed on the island of Borneo. Earlier in February, the government ordered the indefinite suspension of the English-language Sarawak Tribune for reprinting cartoons, and it suspended the publishing permit of the Chinese-language Guang Ming Ribao daily for two weeks for publishing a picture of people reading a newspaper with the caricatures.

© 2006 Committee to Protect Journalists.  E-mail: [email protected]