Australia "concerned" over detention of journalists in Malaysia

Malaysia's detention of two Australian journalists at the weekend prompted Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to contact the authorities there, she said Monday.

"I'm always concerned when there are instances of a crackdown on freedom of speech - in democracies particularly," Bishop told press in Fiji.

“I'm also concerned about the freedom that journalists have to carry out their work," the Australian broadcaster ABC reported.

ABC reporter Linton Besser and camera operator Louie Eroglu were detained by Malaysian police on Saturday after approaching Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on a street in the city of Kuching.

The journalists were trying to question the prime minister about corruption allegations against him.

The reporters were released without charge on Sunday and had their passports returned but were told not to leave the country, ABC reported.

Malaysia's national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said officials were deciding whether to charge the pair as they had crossed a security line and “aggressively” approached the prime minister, Malaysian news agency Bernama said.

Bishop said Australia was raising the issue "at the appropriate level within the Malaysian government," The Australian newspaper reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July 2015 that 673 million dollars had found its way into Najib's private bank accounts. The money was allegedly connected to the state development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Last update: Mon, 14/03/2016 - 11:36

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