Malaysian authorities did not file charges against Australian journalist Linton Besser and cameraman Louie Eroglu over their attempt to interview Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on corruption allegations. They were allowed to leave Malaysia on 15 March 2016.
.@johnnyturk and I about to take off out of Kuching, Sarawak. Totally bizarre few days in such a charming riverside town. Thanks to all.
— Linton Besser (@lb_online) March 15, 2016
— Louie Eroglu ACS (@johnnyturk) March 15, 2016
Besser and Eroglu work for the current affairs program Four Corners by Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC).
According to ABC, the pair denied the police claims that “they had crossed a security cordon” during a press conference last 12 March 2016. The police said the journalists were “aggressive” and were arrested for “failing to comply with police instructions.”
They were detained for more than six hours at a police station in Kuching, a city in Malaysia. Their passports were taken temporarily and they were told not to leave Malaysia while authorities were investigating.
Their case prompted more criticism against the Malaysian government for “ongoing crackdown on free speech” in the country. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists: “Malaysian authorities have censored, harassed, and threatened punitive legal action against reporters who have uncovered and published details of the (1Malaysia Development Berhad) fund controversy.”