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

More from World

Netanyahu wants to discuss Iranian threat with Trump

Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu wants to coordinate future Iran policy with US President Donald Trump, he wrote...

Gambia's new president to establish commission to investigate Jammeh

Gambia's new President Adama Barrow said Saturday he plans to establish a commission to investigate potential...

US to attend Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan as observer

The US will attend Russia-Turkey sponsored peace talks on the conflict in Syria next week, the State Department said...

Hundreds of thousands rally for Women's March on Washington

Hundreds of thousands of women have begun to rally ahead of a march in Washington in opposition to President Donald...

Tunisian leader tells Islamists not to fear Trump

The leader of Tunisia’s main Islamist movement, Rachid Ghannounchi, said Saturday that Islamists should not be...