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Home News Al-Jazeera says Malaysia rejects visas for Aussie staffers

Al-Jazeera says Malaysia rejects visas for Aussie staffers

Published on 06/08/2020

Broadcaster Al-Jazeera said Thursday that Malaysian authorities have refused to renew the work visas of two of its Australian journalists, just days after the network’s Kuala Lumpur office was raided by police.

The Qatar-based network is being investigated by officials over its “Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown” programme, which was critical of the treatment of migrant workers during the coronavirus epidemic.

Angered by the story, authorities last month questioned Al-Jazeera staff, with police seizing two computers from their office on Tuesday.

Al-Jazeera English managing director Giles Trendle confirmed that Malaysia had refused to renew the work visas of staff members Drew Ambrose and Jenni Henderson.

The company did not provide any further details at this point and immigration officials could not be reached for comment.

Officials are also seeking to deport a Bangladesh national for speaking to the network in the documentary.

Malaysia has insisted that the documentary, which focused on the alleged mistreatment of migrant workers during a virus lockdown in May, tarnished the country’s image.

Authorities say the round-up was necessary to protect the public from the virus.

Al-Jazeera is being probed for alleged sedition, defamation and transmitting offensive content, but it has stood by the documentary and insists the reporting was impartial.

Thousands of migrants from poorer countries in the regions — including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar — come to the Southeast Asian nation in search of better work prospects.

Observers have raised concerns over the country’s worsening media climate since a scandal-mired party seized power as part of a coalition earlier this year after the collapse of a reformist government.

Leading independent news portal Malaysiakini has also been taken to court for alleged contempt over readers’ comments on its site critical of the judiciary.