Al Jazeera says it doesn’t need licence to produce documentary

(FMT) – Satellite news channel Al Jazeera has dismissed claims by the national film corporation Finas that it did not have the required licence to produce its controversial documentary on illegal immigrants in Malaysia.

In a statement today, Al Jazeera English managing director Giles Trendle said that according to Finas’ own definition, the 101 East weekly current affairs show does not fall into the category of a film requiring a licence.

“Unable to contest the integrity of our journalism, we believe the authorities are now attempting this new gambit of claiming we did not have a proper licence,” said Trendle.

“We do not believe this is a credible line of argument. In fact, we believe it is contradicted by the very own published guidelines of the relevant authority.”

Finas on Monday said the Doha-based television channel did not have a film production licence, nor did it apply for accreditation, to produce its 101 East documentary entitled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown” which was broadcast on July 3.

The documentary reported on an operation against illegal immigrants which took place as Malaysia implemented restrictions on public activities to control the spread of Covid-19.

The government said the global news channel was being probed for sedition, defamation and improper use of network facilities, and the team behind the report was called in by police for questioning.