Jelutong MP slammed after calling for revocation of TV3's licence

GEORGE TOWN: Newly-minted Jelutong MP R.S.N. Rayer (pic) from Pakatan Harapan caused a stir when he posted on Facebook for TV3's broadcast licence to be revoked.

About a quarter of the Facebook reactions to the post were angry faces on Friday (May 11), with comments reminding him that he should be championing for press freedom instead.

"What did Tun M (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) tell the world? Restore the rule of law, not take revenge," one person commented.

"We should promote media freedom and let the media do its job without political interference. Don't repeat BN's footsteps," another wrote.

Former journalist Andrea Filmer commented that there was a difference between press freedom and revoking TV3's licence.

"But wouldn't revoking their licence be denying them their right to broadcast?

"Keep in mind that you are the government now, so perhaps some change for the better can be started from within.

"I do hope, however, that the change will be towards balanced, impartial news, rather than just another pro-government agenda," Filmer wrote.

Rayer, in a phone interview, explained that he supported freedom of the press.

"I support the freedom of an independent press.

"Malaysia must reach a stage where media companies must be completely free of any political control," he said, claiming that TV3 was politically controlled and he was unhappy with the critical depiction of Penang by the station in the past.

Rayer is a first-time MP who was previously Penang's Seri Delima assemblyman. He became Jelutong MP after winning 50,700 votes, giving him a 38,171-majority in a three-cornered fight.

Pakatan's election manifesto specifically promises to guarantee media freedom, with a media council formed by the press corp to develop and implement a code of ethics on reporting.

It also promised to improve the independence and professionalism of the government-owned Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) and Bernama news agency.