Control, control, and more controlPosted: September 6, 2008
Before this when Malaysia Today was first blocked, it was reported that the government is considering setting up a committee of sorts to help “monitor” what gets written and posted on the Internet so that there won’t be any more “rumours and statements that could incite”.
In an article in Malaysiakini today, it is reported that Syed Hamid Albar said that the ISA can be used on RPK.
On another issue, there is this big furore over what exactly Ahmad Ismail said during the campaigning in the Permatang Pauh by-elections. Ahmad is saying that he was merely stating “historical fact”, though one must question why he felt the need to bring up a “historical fact” during a campaign in the present.
The journalist who wrote the particular article, and others have since stood their ground to defend that they indeed heard it right, and didn’t “spin” anything.
In the wake of this, what does the Information Minister decide to do?
[T]he Government would set up a National Media Council which would function as a monitoring body for the media and ensure that reports were made based on true journalism ethics.
Okay. So let’s recap, exactly how many laws do we have that bind the hands and feet of our journalists today.
1– Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA)
2– Sedition Act
3– Official Secrets Act (OSA)
4– Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA)
5– Internal Security Act (ISA)
That’s 5 of the worst, and 5 of the ones that really shouldn’t even be there. There are, of course, other laws that the media need to adhere to, especially when it comes to spreading rumours or untruths, or intentionally inciting hatred, or anything else like that that also bind us rakyat of Malaysia.
The Sedition Act is one that I have a lot of trouble understanding. Because in the Act itself, one is not even allowed to repeat or quote anything deemed seditious, even if the writer does not mean it. So then, if someone says something seditious (under the Sedition Act), how are the reporters supposed to do their jobs without risking detention, if they aren’t even allowed to “quote”?
And don’t even get me started on the ISA.
So even with all these laws and acts, that should be reviewed, the government wants to come up with even more laws and “councils” to monitor what gets printed or posted on the Internet?
I don’t want to, and will not be all apologetic for the under-par journalism we have today. What with biased reports and even more biased opinions (opinions are what they are entitled to though, no matter how biased), it’s not hard to see why the people are not supportive of them.
But with the archaic laws we have in Malaysia that go all out to make sure that there is no such thing as “press or media freedom” in Malaysia, it’s also not hard to see where Malaysian journalism is heading.
You think it’s enough that we have the Internet?
Recent events should have you thinking twice. The powers-that-be will go all out to spread their tentacles of power and control to all areas deemed “dangerous”.
If you’ve not signed either one of them, my question is also – why?
Then isn’t it even more useless to be doing nothing at all?
“There will be no change”?
Then what change will there be if nobody does anything?
“The Agong won’t do anything”?
Well, he certainly wouldn’t if he doesn’t know what you want.
This is no time for retreat.
Remember that the only time the turtle makes progress, is when it sticks its neck out.