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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Broadcaster Al Jazeera said Malaysian police had raided its office in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, amid an investigation into a programme it aired on the country's treatment of undocumented foreign workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The July 3 programme, entitled "Locked up in Malaysia's lockdown", prompted a backlash in the Southeast Asia nation, with authorities branding the report inaccurate, misleading and unfair.

Rights groups have accused the government of suppressing media freedom after Al Jazeera journalists were called in for questioning by the police and an investigation was opened into alleged sedition, defamation and violation of a communications law.

Malaysian police seized two computers from the Al Jazeera office during Tuesday's raid, the Qatar-based broadcaster said in a statement.

"Conducting a raid on our office and seizing computers is a troubling escalation in the authorities' crackdown on media freedom and shows the lengths they are prepared to take to try to intimidate journalists," Al Jazeera said.

Al Jazeera said it stood by its report and called on authorities to drop the criminal investigation.

Malaysian police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Malaysia arrested hundreds of undocumented foreigners, including children and Rohingya refugees, after the country imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Human rights activists have condemned the arrests as inhumane. Malaysian officials have said they were necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

Activists have voiced concern that the five-month-old administration of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is stifling dissent amid a series of clampdowns, an accusation it has denied.

Last month, authorities arrested a Bangladeshi man who criticised the government's treatment of migrant workers in the Al Jazeera programme.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Bollywood Drug Probe: Karan Johar Gets Clean Chit as FSL Finds No Evidence Of Film Stars Consuming Illegal Substance At His House Party

A party was hosted at director-producer Karan Johar’s residence in July 2019 where several leading celebs of Bollywood were seen in attendance. A video from the filmmaker’s house party went viral across social media platforms and it was alleged that the celebs present at the party were consuming drugs. KJo had stated that the allegations made against him are baseless. However, the video went viral once again when the investigation around actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s had started by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). As per latest reports, the filmmaker has been given a clean chit by the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) as they found no evidence of film stars consuming illegal substance at KJo’s house party. NCB Says No Link Between Drug Probe and Karan Johar’s July 2019 Party.

On September 26, the NCB had confirmed that it is not probing the alleged ‘drug party’ video posted by Karan Johar. The agency also clarified saying that their focus is on the drug-related investigation surrounding the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. There were rumours that KJo might be summoned by the NCB on the house party matter. However, Mutha Ashok Jain, NCB South-Western Region Deputy Director-General had confirmed saying that, “No, there is no connection of that said video with this case.” Bollywood Drug Probe: NCB to Summon Karan Johar Soon, Claims Akali Dal Leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.

The officials at FSL has stated that there has been no drug or illegal substance consumed at Karan Johar’s 2019 house party, reports Bollywood Hungama citing NDTV India. The officials reportedly also revealed that the forensic report confirms that there was no consumption of drugs and no evidence of celebs (who attended the party) were found consuming any illegal substance post inspecting the viral video. The white line as seen in the video was reportedly a reflection of the tube light. In September 2020, Karan Johar had released a statement in which he had mentioned, “No narcotics substance was consumed in the party. I would like to unequivocally once again state that i do not consume narcotics and i do not promote or encourage consumption of any such substance.”

(The above story first appeared on News Brig on Oct 26, 2020 10:19 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website newsbrig.com).

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