March 15, 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: Two Australian journalists who were detained in Malaysia after trying to question Prime Minister Najib Razak about multiple scandals swirling around him were deported on Tuesday.
Reporter Linton Besser and camera operator Louie Eroglu flew out of the Malaysian city of Kuching bound for Singapore, attorney Albert Tang said. The two men, investigative journalists from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), had been ordered to appear in court on Tuesday morning, facing possible charges for obstructing a public servant.
But the appearance was abruptly cancelled and they were informed there would be no charges, Tang and ABC said.
“Obviously, they are relieved,” Tang told AFP.
Speaking at Kuching’s airport, Besser told reporters it had been a “roller coaster few days” but declined further comment as the pair hurried to board their flight.
Besser and Eroglu were detained overnight Saturday after they crossed a security line and “aggressively tried to approach the prime minister”, Malaysian police said.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Monday had expressed concern at their detention, saying journalists should be allowed to work unhindered.
ABC denies the obstruction accusation and has said the reporters were unaware of any police line.
“They did nothing wrong in Kuching. They were doing journalism,” ABC News director Gaven Morris said in a statement Tuesday, adding he was “very glad and relieved” at the outcome.
“This incident has demonstrated again why it is vital to defend media freedom, including the right to question authority.” – AFP
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