BENAR: All in the name of Media Freedom

The BENAR site has been updated.

Zaid’s unpopular comments were met with boos. But these very remarks were sufficient to stir the journos present into action. They decided to stage an impromptu massed march to the Dataran Merdeka after the NPC event. Gone were the fears about causing a hindrance to traffic. Gone were worries about police action. Gone were anxieties about job loss and all that. The journalists were indeed walking their talk. Hallelujah!

It was good that Zaid chose to tell it like he saw it. And it was also good that the journalists were able to boo. After all, isn’t that what freedom of expression is all about? When people are all polite and nice to each other, egos get stroked but little else happens.

After all was said and done, Zaid has promised, “I will stand by the press, the journalist and the media.” The journalists have staged an unlawful protest march. Despite denying permission earlier, the Police stood by and allowed the massed march to proceed without incident. We have made much progress.

Full post here.

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I think, Zaid has just made one promise during the talk yesterday. But better a promise he can keep, rather than a dozen other promises that he “makes” for the government, and that’s the end of the story.

It is better that Zaid has said that not all ministers are unreasonable. Because it means that he knows that there are some who are.

It is better that he said it as it is, that the media has to have regulations, instead of promising a free-for-all. Because he knows that it cannot be done. WE know it cannot be done.

The “dialogue” might not have gotten the media any closer to getting media freedom from the government shackles, but it has sparked a sense of unity amongst those who were there. And as the saying goes, united we stand.

Journalists cannot stand it alone. That’s why the BENAR Walk and Talk was co-hosted by BENAR, CIJ, WAMI and All-Blogs. Wait.. All-Blogs?

Yes. This fight for media freedom does not only belong to the people in media itself. It is a fight for all of us. All-Blogs has made their stand quite clear. They’re all in for media freedom.

What can we do?

We call upon the federal government to heed the public’s call for media law reform by setting up a parliamentary select committee for a comprehensive reform involving at least five legislations: the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act (OSA), Internal Security Act (ISA) and Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA).

Dato’ Zaid Ibrahim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department has unexpectedly demanded the journalist fraternity and civil society to prepare the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the select committee.

We call upon all Malaysians to endorse our Memorandum which calls for the abovementioned select committee, the shelving of PPPA before its abolition and the enactment of freedom of information laws at federal and state levels.

Go to the BENAR site for more.

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This is the memorandum that I mentioned in my previous post here. This time, it will be different from the Online Petition. This memorandum requires one to fill in their full names and IC numbers. This is no joke. You have to truly believe in the name of media freedom. You have to truly want to make a difference.

Everything is collaborative. We all need to cooperate. We all want to move in the same direction.

Why do we care? We care because we believe KNOW that we can make a difference.



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