Friday, February 14, 2014

MALAYSIA:::Repeal Printing and Publishing Act , says NUJ

The journalists' union blames Umno and BN for having curtailed press freedom since independence
PETALING JAYA: National Union of Journalists (NUJ) today called for the repeal of the Publishing Presses and Printing Act 1984 to allow for balanced news coverage even though the government promised to amend the act.
“The new government of Najib Tun Razak was supposed to seriously look into various draconian laws that constrict press freedom and threaten journalists,” said NUJ Malaysia president, Chin Sung Chew in a press statement.

“Najib’s administration promised to make the desired changes possible and to advocate impartial neutral news coverage in order to meet the public’s right to accurate information.
“However, the media industry wants to see the government abolish the PPPA and other relevant laws so that journalists can perform their duties responsibly, safe from any government interference,” Chin added.
He also blamed Umno and BN for Malaysia’s stagnant press freedom.
“Malaysia’s press freedom development has been stagnant for the past 56 years and its ranking has seen a decline as result of one party’s dominant rule in Malaysia,” said Chin
Chin’s statement comes in the wake of Malaysia’s latest ranking on media freedom from Reporters Without Borders. Malaysia is ranked 145th out of 179 in 2013. It fared better in 2011 / 2012 by clinching the 123th spot.
Newspapers losing credibility
Chin said that the ranking slipped further due to access to information being curtailed by those in power.
“The media industry and the public see this as stunting the growth and development of the industry in our country as it is undoubtedly also a stumbling block to the democratic process that is going into reverse,” said Chin.
NUJ also urged political parties and the government to stop monopolising the media through ownership because that would reveal how much the government does not value democratic openness.
“The BN government controls the NST Group, the Utusan group is Umno controlled, and MCA has the ‘Star’ to call its own. Instead of being the voice of the people, the print media has become the mouthpiece of the ruling party.
“This has resulted in the newspapers losing their credibility,” said Chin.
While NUJ lamented the drop in the media freedom rankings, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement claiming that the online media is freer than it has ever been.
“Anyone who visits a Malaysian news website or political blog can see for themselves how free the online media is,” reported NST, the English daily.
Three days ago, the Home Ministry rejected publisher Edge Communication Sdn Bhd’s application to print FZ Daily hours after the High Court allowed the company to challenge a previous decision rejecting a similar application.

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