PETALING JAYA: Senior journalists have disapproved of any attempt to use a state apparatus like the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to question, censor or block portals and online news content.
Here is their statement in full:
We find it totally unacceptable that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is playing “Big Brother” by injudiciously blocking media online content.
We are concerned that of late, media practitioners have been called by the MCMC to explain the content they carried in their news portals and online sites.
What is more worrying is the fact that many of the so-labelled “offending” content are mere reports and opinion pieces deemed critical of the government.
We strongly disapprove of any attempt to use a state apparatus like the MCMC to question, censor or block portals and online news content.
We have seen how in previous governments even the slightest complaint from the public or members of the ruling elite was acted upon swiftly though unnecessarily.
The present government came to power on the promise to allow a free flow of information and a vibrant free press.
The complaints by media practitioners that their sites have been blocked are on the rise. It is an unhealthy trend which must be stopped immediately.
We believe that the regulatory body has other priorities, thus blocking websites is not one of them.
While we understand the Internet has become a harbinger of hate and misinformation, we believe media practitioners are disciplined individuals guided by professionalism and ethics.
The uncontrollable social media realm is understandably a problem. We acknowledge that misinformation and fake news have reached crisis level worldwide.
But we also believe the role that should be played by a free press in the country. The government must ensure a right ecosystem and a conducive environment for media practitioners to work without fear and favour.
Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar
Datuk A Kadir Jasin
Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacob
Datuk Seri Azman Ujang
Datuk Chamil Wariya
Datuk Yong Soo Heong
Datuk Zakaria Wahab
Dr G Manimaran