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Malaysia: Artist and activist investigated over political graphics

17 March 2021
Image: Fahmi Reza /Fahmi Reza on Twitter

 

10 March 2021: Putrajaya district police summoned graphic designer and activist Fahmi Reza for interrogation over past online posts, in which he allegedly ‘slandered’ the Health Minister, according to Malay Mail.

Reza is being investigated under Section 500 of the Penal Code treating about defamation and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act about improper use of communications materials. The former is punishable with up to two years of prison or a fine, or even both.

The artist published on his Instagram a photo of the police letter he received saying he had to go to the station in Putrajaya to give a statement about the two graphics.

The letter did not specify the artwork under investigation but based on the publishing date of the police report, it could refer to the posts on his Twitter account of October 2020 and February 2021. 

These posts were satirical designs of Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba. The October post depicted a figure resembling the politician.

 

“I’m here to explain to the police the meaning of the artworks, their purpose, to whom they were addressed and others,” said the artist.

Although he has been arrested, investigated, tried in court, and fined on several occasions, Reza vows to continue producing caricatures. He said this is his way to exercise his freedom of expression and speak up on Malaysian issues.

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