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Najib’s version of media freedom ll

“I believe the world media can take some lessons from our Malaysian media.”

“As long as the reports do not run foul of our existing laws, the press is free to report on pretty much anything.”

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, speaking to journalists and business leaders before giving out awards at the National Press Club (NPC) — Naza Awards Night on 19 March 2010. (Source: Najib: Press and govt relationship critical, The Star, 20 March 2010)

“I feel deeply sorry for the people of Sungai Asap whom I had interviewed, as their problems and voices are being prevented from being heard by the majority of the people in both east and west Malaysia.”

“If the Sibu by-election and the Sarawak state election are reasons for the show to be taken off the air, then what RTM is implementing is actually ‘politics first’.”

TV2 producer Chou Z Lam, alleging that his nine-part documentary on the Bakun Dam‘s social impacts was taken off the air for political reasons. The documentary was intended for a programme called Galeri Mandarin Nasional, and two episodes had already aired before public broadcaster RTM allegedly pulled the plug. Chou claimed he was told by RTM that the airing of the documentary would be postponed to “a more appropriate time”. (Source: TV2 producer claims “interference”, Malaysian Mirror, 29 April 2010)

“Tan [Boon Kooi (ntv7 Mandarin news and current affairs executive editor)] said, ‘Sofwan [Mahmood (ntv7, 8TV and tv9 news and operation general manager) did not say it clearly. He actually wanted us not to talk about the by-election in the coming show.'...Tan added further, 'On Monday, [Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor] complained about your Penang roadshow — all the way from Washington… I hope you will change the topic.’”

Joshua Wong, ntv7 producer, in his official statement on why he quit the Umno-linked television network. Wong said his show, Editor’s Time, received two separate but similar complaints from the Prime Minister’s Department and Rosmah, the prime minister’s wife, in April 2010.

He claimed that instead of investigating the complaints impartially, network bosses opted instead to restrict the show from discussing political issues, inviting guests from federal opposition parties, and airing an episode on the Hulu Selangor by-election. (Source: I quit after complaints from Rosmah, PM’s Dept, Malaysiakini, 22 April 2010)

“Freedom of expression is fundamental to all other freedoms. Rule of law, fair elections, minority rights, freedom of association, and accountable government all depend on an independent press which can fulfil its watchdog function.”

Jennifer Windsor, executive director of Freedom House in its 2010 statement on the state of press freedom around the world. According to its study, Freedom of the Press 2010: A Global Survey of Media Independence, the organisation ranked country press freedom in three broad categories: “free”, “partly free” and “not free”.

Malaysia was categorised “not free” and ranked 141 jointly with Algeria and Zambia. (Source: Restrictions on press freedom intensifying, Freedom House website, 29 April 2010)

“Self-censorship by RTM as well as other TV stations and mainstream media coming on the heels of the World Press Freedom Day [on 3 May] is totally unacceptable and unethical…It’s time for journalists and media owners to defend the integrity of their profession and speak up against political censorship.”

Chou, on his beliefs as a journalist. (Source: A ghost in RTM?, Malaysiakini, 2 May 2010)

“I think as a media practitioner, we should express our opinion and our stand without fear or favour. This is to protect the independence and professionalism of journalists. If we continue to keep [silent], our silence will allow political interference, unreasonable self-censorship, and worse still, we will allow all sorts of racial remarks from all sorts of people. Racial politics and news self-censorship [has] been with us for more than 50 years. How can we continue to keep [silent], to tolerate such a situation and allow this to happen again and again?”

Wong, in his official statement on why he quit ntv7. (Source: I quit after complaints from Rosmah, PM’s Dept, Malaysiakini, 22 April 2010)

“I need you on this journey to communicate to the nation, and educate the people to embrace and adopt change, not to fear it.”

“A symbiotic relationship between the press and the Government is absolutely critical for our future and development as a nation.”

Najib, at the NPC — Naza Awards Night. (Source: Najib: Press and govt relationship critical, The Star, 20 March 2010)

See also:
Najib’s version of media freedom
Who is Najib Razak?

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