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Fahmi Reza

HRD, artist & filmmaker

Fahmi Reza is political activist, graphic designer, street artist and documentary filmmaker who uses art to protest against corruption in Malaysia. He won the “Most Outstanding Human Rights Film” award at the 2007 Freedom Film Fest. Most recently, his satirical image of Malaysian prime minister as a clown in protest of the financial scandals the PM was involved in went viral in Southeast Asia and has become an icon of anti-corruption in Malaysia. Fahmi Reza also posted the image on Twitter in protest of the frequent usage of the Sedition Act in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the country's monolithic Barisan Nasional has ruled for 60 years. Prime Minister Najib Razak’s rise to power was characterized by an increased repression of civil society and human rights defenders and a lockdown on public debate. Authorities intensified their crackdown on anti-corruption protesters in the wake of embezzlement allegations involving top politicians. Authorities have also used censorship legislation to silence debate on human rights issues. As of October 2017, the government has yet to accept requests by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to visit the country.


Human rights defenders in Malaysia face judicial harassment, arbitrary arrest, threats, intimidation and smear campaigns. HRDs active against corruption, calling for electoral reform and free and fair election, such as members of the Bersih 2.0 movement, are particularly vulnerable and can be targeted for participating in peaceful protests. LGBTI rights defenders also face widespread discrimination and harassment.