TAKE ACTION: SIGN THE PETITION – Memorandum on Ill Representation and Discrimination of the Queer Community in the Media

To: Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM)

June 10, 2010

We refer to the articles published in Kosmo! (“Parti Lesbian Berleluasa”) and the Harian Metro (“Aksi Panas Pengkid, Lesbian”) dated 2nd and 16th May respectively.

We, the undersigned, are enraged by the usage of disparaging words such as “songsang” (deviant), “lucah” (lewd) and “jijik” (disgusting) in the newspaper reports to describe the queer community. The words used by Kosmo! and the Harian Metro and echoed by other newspapers (such as The Star, 3 May 2010) are heavily loaded with moral connotations and paint the queer community unjustifiably and unfairly as deviants and morally tainted.

These recent attacks were first and foremost attacks on sexual rights and, by extension, on human rights. The claim and exercise of these rights are integral to a person’s identity and self-worth and do not in any way contribute to general misconduct or a decline in moral values as wrongly implied by these journalists and newspapers. The continued stigma and discrimination perpetuated by the media towards the queer community (more pronounced since August 2003 when a memorandum was sent to Suhakam then) shows that Suhakam has done nothing to effectively uphold the human rights of the queer community as Malaysians of equal status.

These attacks were also a violation of privacy since these gatherings were by invitation only and exclusive to the queer community concerned.

Besides those two articles which were published recently in Harian Metro and Kosmo!, more than a dozen of articles have been published this year alone in local newspapers (please refer to attachment). These articles are reflective of an ongoing hostile trend by the media towards people of different sexual orientation and gender identity, in complete disregard for their human rights.

We strongly condemn journalists and newspapers who use unscrupulous tactics to obtain their stories and who further rely on sensationalism and titillation to sell their newspapers. We consider these journalists and newspapers unethical and unprofessional because they break the profession’s own standards of good reporting.

Both journalists and editors should be aware of the impact and consequences of how the news is reported especially when it comes to news about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities where unethical and biased reporting only instigates hate and violence towards the queer community. Creating and encouraging an environment of hate and violence is criminal. As a result of such irresponsible reporting, private spaces are being invaded and violated, thus making it harder and harder for the queer community to enjoy their human rights just like other Malaysians.

In light of our urgent concerns, we repeat our call since 28 August 2003, and urge Suhakam:

First, to push for the protection of the human rights of individuals perceived or identified lesbians, bisexuals, gay, transsexual, transgendered, queer, under the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Second, to pressure the government to repeal all laws that outlaw and criminalise mutually consensual sexual behaviour between adults.

Third, to further educate citizens on constitutional provisions for the protection of the human rights of citizens and non-citizens, and to further educate the public on the spirit and core values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Yogyakarta Principles.

Fourth, to pressure the government to repeal all laws that restrict freedom of expression and freedom of information.

We hope that together, we will all be able to protect the democratic principles enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution, and strengthen the practice of a truly humane, participatory democracy in Malaysia.

sign the petition online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/kryss/petition.html

Appendix | Lampiran:

1.Grandpa Held in Raid at Gay Joint, Feb 4, 2010, The Star
2.Kisah gay di Malaysia, Feb 28, 2010, Utusan Malaysia
3.Pesta Khatan Berkepit Pondan, March 17, 2010, Harian Metro
4.Serbu Mak Nyah Mencari Pelanggan, March 27, 2010, Harian Metro
5.Belaian Lelaki Jambu, Apr 11, 2010, Harian Metro
6.Pondan Kejam, Apr 14, 2010, Harian Metro
7.Hasutan Cinta Pengkid, Apr 21, 2010, Kosmo!
8.Dua gay durjana, Apr 26, 2010, Harian Metro
9.Parti lesbian berleluasa, May 2, 2010, Kosmo!
10.More than 100 go wild at lesbian party, May 3, 2010, The Star
11.Iklan pasangan songsang, May 11, 2010, Harian Metro
12.Gays put themselves out on social media sites, May 12, 2010, The Star
13.Tv3’s Raid on the gay massage parlour, May 20, 2010, 999 – TV3
14.Pengarah Filem Diugut, May 25, 2010, Harian Metro
15.Mak Nyah Tua Dicekup, May 28, 2010, Harian Metro
16.Tagih cinta gadis, June 9, 2010, Harian Metro

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Endorsed by | Disokong oleh:

Organization | Organisasi:
1.All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
2.Annexe Gallery
3.Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW)
4.Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
5.Malaysian Bar Council
6.Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)
7.Straten Malaysia
8.Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
9.Titled World
10.Women’s Candidacy Initiative (WCI)
11.Women’s Aid Organization (WAO)

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

sign the petition online at: http://www.petitiononline.com/kryss/petition.html