According to Malaysia Kini, Astro has been fined by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for airing an Al-Jazeera documentary five years ago regarding the controversial murder of a Mongolian model and translator, Altantuya Shaariibuu.
A notice was sent to Measat Broadcast Network Systems Bhd, which operates Astro, on 7 July 2020 over the airing on 11 September 2015. MCMC issued the fine after its investigation concluded the content of the documentary to be indecent and the firm to be in violation of Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Section 211 handles “provision of offensive content”, which prohibits content that is “indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person”.
As such, the company was fined RM1,000 for each time the episode was aired, totalling RM4,000. The company has 30 days to appeal against the compound.
The 2015 documentary about Altantuya’s death was titled ‘Murder in Malaysia’ and was aired as part of the Asia Pacific current affairs programme, 101 East.
It is linked to the October 2006 murder of Altantuya to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and its producer, Mary Ann Jolley, who was deported from Malaysia during its production five years ago. Najib, who was the prime minister at the time, denied the allegation and called Jolley a “nuisance” and a liar.
The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement at the time denying Najib had ever met or had any communication with the slain Mongolian model.
Recently, Al-Jazeera was also criticised by the Perikatan Nasional government over its 3 July documentary ‘Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown’. The National Film Development Corporation (Finas) said Al-Jazeera did not have the necessary licences to film it.
“From the findings of preliminary investigations, Finas found that that company does not have a Film Production Licence and that there was no application for a Certificate for Filming for the filming of that documentary,” Finas said in the statement posted on its official Facebook page.
“Finas will give its full cooperation to the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) in carrying out investigations against Al Jazeera (M) Sdn Bhd under Section 22(1) of the Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia Act 1981 (Amendment 2013) for carrying out filming activities, that is the activity of producing a documentary film without a valid licence from Finas,” it concluded.
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