Lena Hendry’s Conviction and RM10,000 Fine Unjust
Press Statement by Video4Change partner Pusat KOMAS:
Former Program Coordinator of Pusat KOMAS Lena Hendry was sentenced to pay a fine of RM 10,000 or spend a year in jail by the Magistrate’s Court in Kuala Lumpur for screening the Sri Lankan civil war documentary, “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” before submitting for approval by the Malaysian Censorship Board.
Under Section 6 of the Malaysian Film Censorship Act 2002, it is considered an offense which carries a jail sentence of not more than 3 years and a fine not exceeding RM30,000. The fine meted out to Lena is the maximum amount that can be set by the Magistrate Court.
Pusat KOMAS finds the decision by the Magistrate very disturbing and almost incomprehensible that a human rights defender has been punished for wanting to raise awareness on, and concerns for marginalized communities suffering from human rights violations and atrocities. The decision by the Magistrate Court has set a dangerous precedent that it is now unlawful for people to document and screen videos without sending their videos to the Film Censorship Board.