Clare Rewcastle-Brown: Interpol rejected Red Notice request against me

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Sarawak Report founding editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown claimed that Interpol has rejected a request from the Malaysian government to issue a Red Notice against her.

“I have a news point today – the Interpol has rejected a Red Notice request from Malaysia against me,” she said during a forum organised by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) dubbed “The Pursuit of Truth – An Insight Into Exposing Corruption”.

Joining the forum online, Rewcastle-Brown, who previously voiced concerns about potential arrest by Malaysian authorities due to her exposés on corruption in the country, disclosed that British authorities notified her of the alleged rejection by Interpol.

She did not specify the timing of the application.

A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.

In a report last month, the BBC stated that Malaysian law enforcement had twice sought an Interpol Red Notice for Rewcastle-Brown on her coverage of the 1MDB scandal.

Rewcastle-Brown said Interpol had dismissed both applications.

The journalist also claimed that a senior cabinet member had “jokingly” texted her that she could only be charged if she set foot on Malaysian soil.

“So as one of your senior ministers just jokingly messaged me last night, saying ‘we can only get our hands on you if you’re in Malaysia’.

“I suppose I can feel partially relieved, but I don’t think it’s great news for journalists trying to write, to work and holding the powerful and the government to account in Malaysia,” she said.

The forum that discussed various issues regarding media freedom was moderated by the University of Nottingham’s academician Zaharom Nain and had four panellists including Rewcastle-Brown, Muda acting president Amira Aisya Abdul Majid, veteran journalist G Manimaran and CIJ executive director Wathshlah Naidu.

In a bold declaration for press freedom and democratic principles, the forum collectively issued a stirring call for comprehensive changes to the legal landscape governing journalism.

Asserting the pivotal role of media as the fourth pillar of democracy, Wathshlah stressed the imperative of shielding media governance from political and business interests.

The clarion call comes amidst growing concerns over the erosion of press freedom and the stifling effect of outdated laws on journalistic endeavours.

“We demand a complete reform of archaic and repressive laws that undermine media freedom in Malaysia.

“This includes an immediate moratorium on the use of laws such as Section 500 of the Penal Code, as well as the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984, the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972, the Sedition Act 1948, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

“Furthermore, there should be an urgent review to either amend or repeal these laws,” she said.

Echoing international human rights standards, Wathshlah further emphasised the need to align Malaysian laws with global norms on freedom of expression and media freedom.

She called for adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ethical standards of journalism, citing the necessity of demonstrating legitimate aims, necessity, and proportionality in any restrictions imposed on media freedom.

Watshlah also urged the Malaysian Media Council, when it comes into existence, to be free from government interference. – Malaysiakini