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Irate UTC guard who scolded and took reporter’s phone slammed

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 14/5/2022 FMT Reporters
People had been queuing up outside the immigration office at the UTC since early this morning. © Provided by Free Malaysia Today People had been queuing up outside the immigration office at the UTC since early this morning.

KUALA LUMPUR: Muda today slammed the actions of an immigration department security guard who threatened and intimidated reporters surveying long queues at the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Pudu Sentral here this morning.

Muda info chief Luqman Long said the reporters were doing their job in the public’s interest and should not be treated that way.

“You cannot stop journalists from carrying out their duty in a public area such as (the) UTC. As long as they have a media pass, they should be allowed to do their work.

“Any form of intimidation and harassment against journalists is wrong. I’m concerned for the safety of our media friends on duty if such an incident occurs again,” he tweeted.

Two reporters of The Vibes news portal said earlier today they had been harassed by an angry security guard who insisted they leave the premises while they were reporting on long queues at the UTC.

A police report was later filed by a security guard on duty, Dang Wangi police said, according to the portal. The two reporters filed a separate police report in the evening.

The reporters had posted a video of the security guard shouting at the top of his voice, demanding that they immediately leave the area outside the UTC immigration office, where people had been queuing up since early this morning.

Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm), a journalists’ activist group, condemned the security guard’s actions.

In a Facebook post, they said the issue could have been resolved professionally but instead the guard in question had resorted to intimidation and aggression by taking away the reporter’s phone.

Geramm said there should be laws criminalising any act of intimidation and aggression against media personnel.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists president Farah Marshita Abdul Patah said serious steps are needed to protect the rights of journalists’ in the country.

“Journalists have the right to report facts without obstruction from anyone. We urge all parties to stop harassing reporters while they carry out their duties.

“If we are prevented from carrying out our assigned duties, the voice of the people will not be heard out there,” she said.

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