Govt will study RSF's proposals to improve media freedom index position, says Fahmi

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will study proposals by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) regarding appropriate measures to improve Malaysia's position in the World Press Freedom Index, says Fahmi Fadzil.

The Communications Minister said he welcomed the readiness of the international non-governmental organisation (NGO) to collaborate with Malaysia.

ALSO READ: Malaysia’s Press Freedom Index position still good, says Fahmi

"We may not necessarily accept their proposals outright but will thoroughly review and see what is suitable for Malaysia," he told a press conference after opening the International Regulatory Conference (IRC) 2024 here Monday (May 6).

The World Press Freedom Index 2024 report released by RSF on Friday (May 3) showed Malaysia's ranking dropping 34 spots compared to its 73rd position last year, with a score of 52.07 points.

Fahmi said although he accepted the report in good faith, it should not be regarded as the golden standard in determining the level of media freedom in the country.

ALSO READ: Malaysia falls 34 spots to 107th in press freedom index

Fahmi said the World Press Freedom Index issue concerned not only the Communications Ministry but also laws under several other ministries.

"For example, issues related to the LGBT community. We know Malaysia's stance on this issue and the suitability of some matters within the Asean mould or Eastern customs,” he said.

He also slammed a statement by Bersatu supreme council member Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan comparing Malaysia’s position with Israel in the index.

"Unlike Israel, we don't kill people like what is happening in Gaza. We also don't shut down any media outlets like what happened yesterday when Israel shut down and searched Al Jazeera's offices," he said.

ALSO READ: Safeguarding media freedom vital to counter misinformation

Regarding the issue of people using images of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election campaign, Fahmi said Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) have confirmed it was not part of either parties' campaigns.

"The individuals involved have been arrested, so we leave it to the police to investigate. If an offence was committed, the Attorney General's Chambers can bring the case to court. So, we follow that procedure," he said.

According to media reports, two individuals have been arrested for displaying the King’s photographs on a vehicle used in the election campaign. - Bernama

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