PETALING JAYA: The action taken by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) against a news portal was within legal boundaries, says Fahmi Fadzil (pic).
The Communications and Digital Minister said that while he has not been fully briefed on the matter, it was important to have a balance between media freedom and freedom of speech with factual and accurate reporting.
“I believe whatever MCMC does is within the boundaries of the law. They don’t refer to me before taking action.
“In fact, sometimes (MCMC’s enforcement actions) are in collaboration with police investigations or complaints received from the public,” he told a press conference after launching the Malaysian Digital Expo 2023 here on Monday (Sept 25).
He had been asked to comment on calls by a group of notable journalists from various publications asking MCMC not to stand in the way of the media in reporting the news responsibly.
They said recent warnings issued by MCMC, aside from calling up editors and blocking certain news portals, are concerning and a serious matter.
“Press freedom is something that is very important to the government. At the same time, being factually correct is also very important.
“Sometimes, in our pursuit of news, it is not only important to be the first (to break the news) but also to be factually accurate," Fahmi added.
He also said his ministry planned to table the Malaysian Media Council Bill in Parliament sometime next year.
“For the deputy minister (Teo Nie Ching) and myself, we believe that perhaps the Malaysian Media Council will be a good avenue to mitigate, discuss and resolve a number of issues.
"So there will be a better facilitation or rather, an internal control mechanism," noted Fahmi.
The group pointed out on Sunday (Sept 24) that a recent incident in the Dewan Rakyat was aired live and viewed by the public with snippets made available on all social media platforms.
The portal in question was, however, instructed to make changes to or take down a report on the Sept 19 ruckus in Parliament.
The group said MCMC placing blame on the news portal for reporting the story was unfair and unacceptable.