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Astro Has Now Been Fined For Airing A Documentary On Altantuya's Murder Back In 2015

MCMC said that the documentary, which was produced by Al Jazeera, was "indecent".

Cover image via Malaysiakini & Al Jazeera

Earlier this month, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) sent a notice to Astro for airing a documentary in 2015 on the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu

According to a report in Malaysiakini today, 22 July, MCMC issued the compound notice to Measat Broadcast Network Systems Bhd, which operates the Malaysian satellite television provider.

Astro aired the documentary Murder in Malaysia on 11 September 2015.

The documentary linked Altantuya's murder, which happened in 2006, to former prime minister Najib Razak, who had its producer Mary Ann Jolley deported from Malaysia in June 2015.

Najib, who was the prime minister at that time, has denied the allegation.

"Prime Minister Najib Razak did not know, has never met, has never had any communication with, and has no link whatsoever with the deceased," the PMO had said then.

In 2018, Najib, while addressing the allegation, again said that "there is no evidence whatsoever that I ever met her, there are no records, no pictures or witness to say that I even knew her."

"It was subject to a proper trial and my name didn't come up during the trial whatsoever."

He also said that to prove his innocence, he would lodge a police report against himself.

Image via Reuters

However, last year, Azilah Hadri, a former Special Action Unit (UTK) personnel who is currently on death row for murdering Altantuya, confessed for the first time to killing the Mongolian national.

Azilah made a statutory declaration (SD) - a sworn oath - dated 17 October 2019 that it was Najib who ordered him to kill Altantuya because she was a "dangerous foreign spy".

MCMC said that the documentary was "indecent" and breached Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998

Section 211 provides: "No content applications service provider, or other person using a content applications service, shall provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person."

According to Malaysiakini's report, MCMC said they investigated based on a public complaint.

"In its letter to Measat, MCMC said the company was found guilty of airing the episode, which was 'indecent', with the intention to offend related parties," the report said.

"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 fine on Astro comes amidst an ongoing investigation against Al Jazeera for its latest documentary titled Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown which showed the plight of undocumented migrants

The Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department is investigating Al Jazeera for sedition, defamation, and improper use of network facilities under the Communication and Multimedia Act of 1998.

Following which, the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) said Al Jazeera did not have the necessary licences to film Locked Up in Malaysia's Lockdown that was aired on 3 July this year.

Prior to which, the Immigration Department revoked the work permit of a Bangladeshi man who was interviewed by Al Jazeera for the documentary which has been described as "inaccurate and misleading".

The revocation of his work permit comes after the Immigration Department released his personal details with the Immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud warning that foreigners who "make inaccurate statements aimed at damaging Malaysia's image" would have their work passes revoked.

According to a report in Harian Metro on 12 July, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Abdul Hamid Bador confirmed the matter, saying that he was informed by the Immigration Department.

In 2018, Najib set down for an interview with the deported journalist.

During the interview, in which he lost his cool and walked out, told Jolly that she was deported because she was a "nuisance" to him:

Last year, when Jolly won an award for 'Interview of the Year', Najib claimed that he has "no problems walking away from a foreign reporter as long as I do not walk away from my people":