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Monday, Sept 21
Malaysian authorities censor foreign news agency unrest coverage

LONDON, Sept 21 (AFP) - Malaysian authorities are censoring television coverage of rioting in Kuala Lumpur taken by foreign broadcasters, the British Foreign Office said Monday.

The BBC and Britain's independent television news channel ITN, which are covering a state visit by the Queen to Malaysia reported that pictures taken of the unrest were being blanked from screens as it was transmitted to Britain.

"We can confirm that this is happening and we are urgently pursuing the matter with the Malaysian authorities," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

It is understood that coverage of other international broadcasters, including TV New Zealand, is also being censored.

A BBC spokesman said the jamming of the pictures was "an issue of concern to us", but the censorship attempt would be circumvented.

He said: "We are making alternative arrangements to get these pictures back to the UK. It will probably mean transferring (the pictures) via another country."

An ITN source in Kuala Lumpur said: "We are aware that there could be problems getting our pictures out of Malaysia today (Monday), especially as we have been relying on the co-operation of RTM, the state broadcasting authority.

"We are confident we can still tell the full story of what is happening here and are making alternative arrangements to get these pictures to London."

Buckingham Palace and the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur are also lobbying to lift the censorship it was reported.

Clashes erupted on the streets of Kuala Lumpur Monday for a second day as police held ousted deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim who was sacked earlier this year accused of "immoral conduct."