Geramm reacts to A-G on whistleblowing

Geramm reacts to A-G on whistleblowing
Geramm added that the practice of using confidential sources by the press is not meant to sabotage the government but to pursue the truth and hold the powers that be to public account. - File photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) today urged for the Whistleblower's Act to be revised to allow journalists to tell the truth.

Geramm in a statement, said it is alarmed by the proposition voiced by the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Aproposition to strengthen the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA), more so when he seemed to be targeting journalists.

"We view this as a blatant intimidation by the A-G. Threatening the press who are merely carrying out duties to report on matters of public interest is something uncalled for," said Geramm.
Geramm added that the practice of using confidential sources by the press is not meant to sabotage the government but to pursue the truth and hold the powers that be to public account.

"It is invaluable in line with the spirit of the Whistleblower Act and the practice of whistleblowing, a powerful check and balance tool in working democracies."

"Journalism ethics also states that the use of an anonymous source is protected as long as the facts obtained is  verified," it added.

Geramm also cited the National Union of Journalist's code of ethics also states that a journalist "will observe professional secrecy regarding the source of information obtained in confidence.

"This matter has been settled in a landmark High Court Ruling in 2013, where High Court judge Lau Bee Lan dismissed an application by Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing to compel a journalist to reveal his sources in a defamation case," said Geramm.

The top prosecutor reportedly insisted that OSA to used against journalists who protect their sources by invoking journalistic ethics, as the media personnel will then be considered as collaborating with a potential saboteur.

"We may charge the journalist who refuse to reveal the sources. I am not joking. If I have 90% of evidence, I will charge journalist, editor, assistant editor and editor-in-chief. I am serious, not kidding. We have too many leakage of secrets in Malaysia," Apandi was quoted as saying.

The A-G reportedly said this in an interview with Sin Chew Daily as quoted by an online portal, he also related that the A-G's Chambers is looking to amend OSA laws to include life imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan as punishments.