Media Freedom: Why do we care?

We, as a people, have the right to seek a media free to report the truth without fear or favour. We, as a people have the responsibility to tell the media where they are lacking and need improvement. More than that, we as citizens of a free nation, owe it to our media people to work with them and help bring about the changes they need that will result in a free media.

So back to the original question, did Benar have the right to organise a Walk for Media Freedom? We feel that the Walk is a necessary first step in the process of taking back the liberties that the media have been deprived of. If the media community could have organised it themselves, the effect would have been tremendous. However, as a result of this being a civil society initiative, something unprecedented is taking place.

For the first time, people from the traditional media, the blogger community, ordinary citizens and a representative of the government are getting together for a common cause – Media Freedom. The path will be long and hard, with many dangers and challenges. But with so many parties ready to acknowledge the need for Media Freedom, it’s only a matter of working together and developing a reasonable plan that will address the concerns of all the stakeholders.

We are taking an important first step. Let us keep walking forward. Pretty soon, even the detractors may be seen walking with us.

Taken from the BENAR site here.


Yes. This is a civil society initiative. It has nothing to do with us normal citizens, and yet it has everything to do with us.

I don’t know how it has come to this, really. The fact that a major part of society is so unwilling to step out of their comfort zone is very very telling. Do we feel like we couldn’t possibly make a difference?

Or maybe it’s our education system that’s done this to Malaysian society. The thinking of jangan jaga tepi kain orang. The sort that “As long as my life’s fine, and there’s food on the table, I don’t care about anything else.”

So what if ISA is against human rights? As long as I don’t do anything provocative, I won’t get caught. So what?

So what if UUCA suppresses character building? I‘ve long finished studying, it’s none of my business now. So what?

So what if there are more illegal immigrants than locals in Sabah? As long as I‘ve still got work to do. So what?

So what if children in Malaysia and overseas are dying from hunger and AIDS and diseases and everything else? As long as MY children are fine. So what?

So what if there have been about 20 deaths recorded in NS so far?
So what if the Altantuya case is still so shrouded in doubt?
So what if the judiciary is nothing like what it should be?
So what if the politicians are corrupt?
So what if the building of more roads is going to pollute the air?
So what if there’s no media freedom?

I don’t know if I’m starting to sound like as if I’m “holier-than-thou”. And I KNOW I am unable to do anything about ANY of the issues I just mentioned.

But I believe in collective effort.

If not for us normal citizens, there would be no Parliament today. Because we are the ones who put the politicians there.
If not for us normal citizens, there would be no newspapers today. Because we are the ones who buy them.
If not for us normal citizens, there would be no development. Because we are the ones who work and toil.
If not for us normal citizens, there would be no Malaysia. Because there can be no country with no citizens.

It is all collective effort. WE can all do something. WE can make a difference.


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