Setting up a media council in the time of the Internet and social media onslaught is a futile effort

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 16 Jan 2020

We should learn from the British experience. In 1990, the Calcutt Report of the Committee on Privacy and Related Matters recommended the setting up of a Press Complaints Commission to replace the UK Press Council. The UK Press Council ceased to exist in 1991.

There is no media council in the United States.

It is time for the Malaysian media to prove non-statutory self-regulation could work without a statutory framework.

The Pakatan Harapan government pledges to stay clear from the press and to free it from any form of control. They have seen how the local press acted unprofessionally and unethically to support the previous regime.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo has from time to time reiterated the Government's position to uphold the freedom of the press. He has also said that political parties should have no control over media organisations to ensure freedom of the press.

He is naive to believe so, with what is happening to Media Prima Bhd and the taking over of the ownership of licenses of former Utusan group's newspapers.

The Minister should help in the abolition and repeal of archaic, irrelevant laws that curtailed press freedom in the country.

The setting up of the Malaysian Media Council, which is initiated by the government and not the industry is against the spirit of Pakatan's pledge to unshackle the yoke of control over the media.

Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar

The writer is a veteran journalist and former Utusan Melayu Group editor-in-chief. He is currently a columnist for The Star.


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