Malaysia: Press freedom survey was unfair, inaccurate and irrelevant

Malaysia: Press freedom survey was unfair, inaccurate and irrelevant

KUALA LUMPUR - The Home Ministry has rejected a survey made by Reporters Without Borders, saying the indicators used to measure freedom of press are unfair, inaccurate and irrelevant in the local context.

The ministry said the analysis made by the non-profit organisation did not take into account the complete scenario of the local media.

"The existence of laws does not mean that the Government curbs press freedom, but it is merely a mechanism to check media content to ensure it does not harm the peace, security and harmony of the nation and its people," said the ministry in a written reply to William Leong (PKR-Selayang).

The Opposition MP had asked about steps that were being taken towards improving press freedom in Malaysia, which ranked 147 out of 180 countries under the World Press Freedom Index 2014.

The ministry said the Government would continue to uphold the principle that media practitioners were free to report news although they had to be responsible, objective and ethical in their reporting.

It cited the proposed improvements to the Printing Presses and Publication (Amendment) Act 2012. It added that publications now no longer needed their permit and licence to be renewed annually and the minister no longer had "absolute discretion", which meant his decisions could now be challenged in court.

The Home Ministry and the Attorney-General's Chambers were studying the setting up of a self-regulatory body or Media Council that would regulate news reports among media practitioners without interference from the Government.

 

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