“Seditious” independent media

Under Malaysia’s Printing Presses and Publications Act, newspapers have to apply to the government every year to renew their operating license. Journalists and media outlets are subjected to harassment campaigns when deemed too independent or critical of the government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is still embroiled in the “1MDB” corruption scandal. News websites such as Sarawak Report and The Edge are often blocked for covering this story. Several proposed amendments would reinforce the already draconian Official Secrets Act and Communications and Multimedia Act, posing additional threats to the media’s freedom to cover the 2018 elections. Bloggers are closely monitored by the authorities, who can prosecute them for spreading “false news,” a euphemism for criticism of the government. Thousands of “cyber-troopers” are used by the government as social network trolls. The Sedition Act still poses the biggest threat to journalists. Under the latest amendment to the act, a journalist convicted of sedition faces a sentence of three to 20 years in prison.

in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index



144 in 2017

Global score


46.89 in 2017

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2019
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2019
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2019
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