KUALA LUMPUR: A further look is needed to ensure that the proposed Malaysian Media Council (MMC) will be in line with both federal and state laws, says Fahmi Fadzil.
"The setting up of the media council and draft Bill must take into consideration the provisions under the available federal and state laws that are related to the media," the Communications and Digital Minister said in a written reply to a question raised by Tan Kok Wai (PH-Cheras) in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday. (March 14).
Tan wanted to know the progress on efforts to set up the council following approval from the Cabinet on Dec 6, 2019, to do so.
He said this decision comes following a meeting on March 1 with the Pro-tem Committee for further clarification on the draft Bill for it to be more specific and measurable.
"The ministry will coordinate a meeting with the committee soon to refine the draft Bill," he added.
Fahmi also noted that approval had been given by the Cabinet on Dec 6, 2019, to set up the council.
Following this, he said a ceremony was held on Jan 16, 2020, to begin the process to set the council.
He added that a pro-tem committee was set up comprising 21 members, which included representatives from the media.
"At that time, the proposal was that consideration was to be given on the role of the council in defending media freedom in delivering information and as an adjudicating body to supervise public complaints against the media," he said.
Following this, Fahmi said the pro-tem committee draft Bill was submitted to the then Communications and Multimedia Ministry in August 2020.
He said that his ministry has since conducted several engagement sessions with stakeholders and set up a task force to refine the draft Bill.
He added that further feedback on the draft Bill from the government side is needed on policy matters issues.
"The role and functions must be clear to ensure that there is no conflict with the legal scope on the setting up of the council with the law and current supervision by the government," he said.
Fahmi said that his ministry will hold another meeting with the pro-tem committee soon to further discuss the draft Bill.
However, Fahmi did not specify a time frame in his reply to Tan on when the Bill would be tabled in Parliament.