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In Malaysia this week, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court filed three charges against journalist Wan Noor Hayati Wan Alias relating to posts on her public Facebook account about the coronavirus health emergency. Hayati was charged under Section 505(b) of the country’s penal code, a criminal provision banning statements intended to cause “fear or alarm to the public” or “commit an offense against the State or public tranquility.” Malaysian authorities have detained at least five social media users in recent days for sharing alleged false information about the coronavirus outbreak.
In Iran, authorities raided the homes of four journalists over the past two weeks and confiscated documents and equipment. The raids come ahead of Iran’s parliamentary elections on February 21. On Thursday, a fifth journalist’s home was raided and his digital devices seized. Separately, a Tehran court found three local editors-in-chief guilty of “spreading false news and defamation.”
In Bangladesh, several journalists were attacked and harassed while covering elections in Dhaka, the capital, on February 1. At least 15 journalists were beaten, threatened, denied access to polling stations, or had equipment broken or taken.
Global press freedom updates:
- Nigerian journalist Alex Ogbu dies at protest
- Five Syrian journalists injured while covering clashes in Aleppo and Idlib
- Pakistan broadcast regulator proposes sweeping control of internet news programs
- Burundi court sentences four journalists from the news outlet Iwacu to two years and six months in prison
- Israeli security forces arrest Palestinian journalist, injure another covering protests
- Gambian radio journalists arrested, outlets shut down over protest coverage
- Unidentified individuals shoot journalist’s home in Argentina
- North Macedonia journalists threatened by government official
- Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis handed suspended prison sentence for tweeting meme
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