Astro slapped with RM4,000 fine for ‘offensive’ 2015 docu on Altantuya’s murder

Screengrab of the documentary, “Murder in Malaysia.” Photo: Al Jazeera /YouTube
Screengrab of the documentary, “Murder in Malaysia.” Photo: Al Jazeera /YouTube

Malaysia doubles down on Al Jazeera today, this time by way of slapping a fine on a local television network for airing a 2015 documentary about the scandalous Altantuya murder.

The Communications and Multimedia Commission, or MCMC, has fined Astro RM4,000 (US$940) for broadcasting Murder in Malaysia five years ago via the Qatari news channel, describing the documentary depicting the controversial murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu as “offensive.”

The ministry told reporters today that it had conducted several investigations surrounding the 26-minute documentary and concluded it to be offensive under the Communications and Multimedia Act. 

“We (MCMC) fined the satellite television provider for airing the offensive documentary, which violates the Communications and Multimedia Act.”

It was also revealed that Astro was fined two weeks ago on July 7. Astro was fined RM1,000 each time the documentary was aired, amounting to a total of RM4,000.

A letter to the Measat satellite company that operates Astro said the broadcast was “indecent” and had “intent on offending several parties.”

Murder in Malaysia had documented the controversial murder of Altantuya, who allegedly had a role as an interpreter in Malaysia’s purchase of two military submarines. She was also linked to the man who purportedly hired her, Abdul Razak Baginda, who is also the former aide to ex-prime minister Najib Razak. 

The fine on Astro over Al Jazeera’s documentary happens on the back of an ongoing probe into the Qatari news channel over a separate documentary about the lives of migrant workers affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. 

MCMC said it is looking into whether Al Jazeera had obtained a license to produce the Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown documentary that it had criticized for being “misleading.” 

Al Jazeera risks having its accreditation revoked. 

Other stories to check out:

Probe into Al Jazeera undermines freedom of speech: CIJ

Keyboard warriors in online war with Al Jazeera over COVID-19 documentary

Hannah Yeoh under probe again over ‘seditious’ child marriage statement she said she didn’t write

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