Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Media Statement: CIJ supports Zunar’s court challenge against ban on cartoon books

Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia
27C Jalan Sarikei, off Jalan Pahang
53000 Kuala Lumpur
Website: cijmalaysia. org
Email: cijmalaysiaATgmail. com
Tel: 03 4023 0772
Fax: 03 4023 0769

Media Statement: CIJ supports Zunar’s court challenge against ban on cartoon books
31 July 2010

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) applauds and supports cartoonist Zunar and "Malaysiakini"'s legal challenge of the Home Ministry ban on his books "1Funny Malaysia" and "Perak Darul Kartun".

The two publications, a compilation of cartoons satirising mostly political norms and events in Malaysia, were banned under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) for being “prejudicial to public order”. The order was signed by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Abu Seman Yusop and gazetted on 17 June 2010.

On 26 July, Zunar and "Malaysiakini", the publisher of "1Funny Malaysia", filed separate applications at the KL Federal Court for leave for a judicial review of the Ministry’s decision. According to their press release, the ban was illegal as it infringes their constitutional right to free speech and falls outside the scope of the PPPA. They also stated that the ban breached the rules of natural justice since neither prior notice nor reasons were given. Zunar and Malaysiakini view the ban as disproportionate to the ‘challenge’ posed by the publications and are claiming damages for losses incurred from loss of income from the books.

Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, claimed that his is the first political cartoon book to be banned, and he is the first cartoonist to challenge a ban by the Home Ministry.

CIJ reiterates Zunar’s right to publish his cartoons. An important aspect of freedom of expression, satirical cartoons lampooning politics are no stranger to Malaysians, generations of whom are well acquainted with the works of our foremost cartoonist Lat. Essentially social commentaries laced with humour, with an occasional sting that comes from the biting truth revealed, satirical cartoons that beget any overreaction – such as a ban – is bound to invite the impression that “the lady doth protest too much” or, its Malay equivalent, “siapa makan cili, dia terasa pedas”.

It is worth noting the results of two such court challenges in recent years. On 25 January, Sisters in Islam (SIS) succeeded in getting the KL High Court to overturn the 2008 ban on its book, "Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism". Although the court found the ground of the book being “prejudicial to public order” as “something that cannot stand to objective scrutiny”, the Ministry has brought the matter to the Court of Appeal where it is now pending.

The second challenge by SUARAM chairperson K Arumugam against the 2006 ban on his book "March 8" was quashed on 12 February by the same KL High Court, which found that the contents of the Tamil-language book about the 2001 racial clashes in KL touched on “social and cultural sensitivities of the various communities in Malaysia”, and upheld the Ministry’s ban made on the same ground.

http://www.cijmalay view/580/ 8/

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