Malaysia censors Economist article on protest

KUALA LUMPUR, July 20, 2011 (AFP) - Malaysia has censored sections of an article in The Economist magazine about a mass rally for electoral reform because of "incorrect information", a report said Wednesday.

The magazine's publisher was directed to black out parts of the story in the July 16 edition after consultation with police, Home Ministry official Abdul Aziz Mohamad Nor was quoted in The Star daily as saying.

"We went through the article and found the incorrect information," he was quoted as saying, adding it could mislead readers.

The censored parts in the article, entitled "Taken to the cleaners", refer to the death of a man during the protest and to police action in putting down the rally.

Police say the man died of a heart attack, while his family claim he collapsed after running away from tear gas.

The protest, which saw more than 10,000 people take to the streets to call for electoral reform, has raised the ire of the government, who said the July 9 rally was an opposition ploy to tarnish the country's image.

Government leaders have defended the police, who cracked down on the protest with tear gas and water canon and arrested more than 1,700 people, as preventing worse chaos.

The opposition-backed rally was organised by an electoral reform group calling for, among other things, longer campaign periods and an end to vote buying ahead of the next elections widely expected to be held by next year.

Malaysian mainstream media is largely government-linked and controlled through printing permits, but online news portals and blogs, which are not subject to any permits, have flourished.

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