ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Suspension of M'sian weekly not linked to report on Najib: ministry
Publication Date : 23-12-2013
The indefinite suspension of Malaysian news weekly The Heat was not linked to an unflattering front-page report on Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife's expenditure last month, the home ministry clarified amid protests by journalist groups against what they saw as an attack on media freedom.
"This decision was not linked to The Heat's recent story regarding the prime minister, and any accusations to the contrary are without merit," the home ministry said in a statement last Saturday.
Instead, The Heat was suspended due to its "violations" of some provisions stipulated in its printing permit, reported The Malay Mail Online.
"The Heat's publication permit states that the outlet is required to inform the home ministry of any change of ownership. Furthermore, the permit provides for a weekly business magazine."
"However, these provisions were violated. The home ministry therefore issued a show-cause letter to The Heat's publisher," said the home ministry, adding that the suspension was imposed only after the publisher HCK Media failed to respond to two previous show-cause letters.
The National Union of Journalists had earlier slammed the suspension, saying it went against democratic principles, reported The Star.
A group of journalists from major news portals and some activists also launched the Movement of Angry Media (Geramm, a play on the Malay word for angry), calling on the ministry to apologise to The Heat, all media practitioners and the public.
A new kid on the block, The Heat entered the market only in September, and has had 15 runs before the suspension, said Malaysian Insider.
The weekly is relatively unknown compared to other new players such as the Malay Mail Online, but the suspension has given it a publicity boost.