Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in a letter to Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia has expressed concern over the arrest of blogger Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris on November 29.
PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali in his letter has called on the authorities to immediately release the blogger without any charges.
According to Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Wan Muhammad Azri is charged under Sedition Act and is being investigated for posting seditious video, which allegedly hurt racial sentiments.
Wan Muhammad Azri was also charged in the past by the former Leader of the Opposition Anwar Ibrahim, with his award being paid by a branch of the United Malay National Organization (UMNO).
The Cabinet in October 2018, suspended the Sedition Act of 1948- one of two oppressive laws Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Pakatan Harapan coalition vowed to revoke, along with the death penalty, as a part of its reform agenda. The use of this law despite the suspension, is a step back and it gives an impression that there is a continuous need for this colonial piece of legislation.
CIJ added that, the Section 298A of the Penal Code, which prosecutes provocative violence or of hate speech, has a tighter definition of what constitutes a crime.