KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 – The Malaysian Press Photographers Association (MPPA) has called for action to be taken against the individual who assaulted a press photographer at the Nirvana Memorial Centre on Tuesday. Its president, Zainal Abdul Halim, said photographers were not “punching bags” but were duty bound to report every incident and had no intention to provoke. “We can’t accept the violence that befell New Straits Times Press (NSTP) photographer Mohd Aizuddin Saad, which saw him suffer a broken nose and his camera damaged.” Mohd Aizuddin was one of many media personnel covering the funeral of MH17 victims Paul Goes, his wife Subashni Jretnam and daughter Kaela Maya Jay Goes on Tuesday when he was punched by one of the family members.
“If we remain quiet, we’re afraid such incidences will occur again in the future,” Zainal said, when met at the Sungai Besi police station today. He said the incident was degrading to the photographer as he was punched in public, adding that it had also left a negative impression where people thought that members of the media had deliberately caused the provocation. This was the first incident, according to Zainal, that a police report has been lodged over the assault of a photographer. “There has been various incidences whereby photographers were beaten up when covering rallies, but we understood them because the environment was such.”
Zainal said the family of the victims should have informed Malaysian Airlines and the memorial centre had they preferred some privacy during the funeral. “But we were not informed and the photographer was punched. Is violence a way to get the message across?” Logan Retnam, a relative of Subashni, had previously claimed in a Facebook posting that the family was not given privacy to mourn their loss. Logan had also claimed that MAS had published personal details about the burial plans despite the family asking the national carrier to protect its privacy. Nirvana, too, had allowed the media in. He alleged that the photographer had proceeded to take photographs even after the family members had repeatedly said “no media”.