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Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday October 10, 2013 MYT 7:27:41 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s outburst when he threatened to close down media organisations has attracted mixed reactions from media practitioners and groups.
Some view his remark as unwarranted while others wonder if he had made such a gung-ho remark to boost his “tough guy” image ahead of Umno polls.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is regarded as a frontrunner in the Umno vice-presidential race, has been capitalising on the tough action taken against gangsters.
In Malacca recently, he threatened to shut down media organisations if they insisted on reporting a closed-door Umno session on Oct 5.
Former New Straits Times group chief editor Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said Dr Ahmad Zahid should clarify what the media had done to warrant such a threat.
“Unless otherwise stated, the right to cover an event is the privilege of the media. Threatening the media is contrary to the freedom offered to every Malaysian,” he said, adding that it contradicted the Prime Minister’s promise to liberalise the media.
Kadir said that if the media was wrong, it was incumbent upon the media to make the necessary correction, failing which the government could initiate action.
Former Information Minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin said Dr Ahmad Zahid had a right to warn reporters not to publicise issues discussed behind closed doors if it concerned security matters.
Zainuddin also lambasted the Opposition for practising double standards as they, too, had barred certain mainstream media from covering state assemblies in Penang and Selangor.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, in a report by a news portal yesterday, said Dr Ahmad Zahid should know that it was the 21st century and there should be room for opposing views.
Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah said the minister’s conduct was unbecoming, noting that the Printing Presses and Publication (PPPA) Act 1984 gave powers to the minister to revoke the permit of a publication.
“This law is irrelevant and the threat against the media is a clear example why the law has to be repealed,” she said.
National Union of Journalist (NUJ) president Chin Sung Chew said Dr Ahmad Zahid should not abuse his position as Home Minister by threatening the media.
A mass communication lecturer, meanwhile, said the matter would only be regarded as serious if the minister went ahead with his threat and closed down the media.
“But the fact is, he did not close down any media organisation,” said International Islamic University Malaysia academic fellow Mazni Buyong.
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Politics, zahid hamidi
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