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Media Statement (3) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 19th May 2010: 


Call on Rais Yatim to lift all RTM restrictions on Chou Z Lam’s Bakun Dam documentary and ensure that the remaining episodes of the television documentary is aired

The Information, Unity, Culture and Arts Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim should intervene to lift all RTM restrictions on producer Chou Z Lam’s television documentary on the Bakun Dam.

There had been unacceptable political interference in RTM's TV2 resulting in Chou’s documentary on the Bakun Dam being taken off the air allegedly due to Barisan Nasional concerns over it chances in the Sibu by-election.

The documentary was taken off the air under the direct instruction of RTM's chief broadcast executive Ibrahim Yahya.

RTM's newsroom chief executive Jumat Engson had said the documentary was taken off the air because it had sensitive elements that could be harmful (for BN) in the upcoming Sibu by-election.

Now that the Barisan Nasional had lost the Sibu by-election even without the Bakun Dam television documentary, this rigmarole of political interference with media freedom should be stopped immediately.

Diplomatic claims by the authorities that the documentary would be postponed to 'a more appropriate time' is not acceptable.

Are the RTM authorities waiting for the Barisan Nasional governments in Sarawak and Putrajaya to fall before airing Chou’s documentary?

This is the second recent episode of blatant media censorship and interference – the previous instance being the award-winning journalist and producer Joshua Wong who quit his position in ntv7 following constant political interference in his current series talk show, the last straw being a ban on discussing the recent Hulu Selangor by-election.

This morning, a four-point memorandum of protest to RTM was submitted by a pro-media freedom lobby group demanding:

  • RTM should air all the remaining episodes of Chou's television documentary

  • RTM should publicly affirm that it will adhere to standards of professionalism and fairness

  • RTM should terminate the services of Yap Shy Chuan, alleged to be a MCA member overseeing the Chinese-language programmes

  • Parliament should enact laws to ensure the impartiality of RTM as a public service broadcaster

Pakatan Rakyat support these four demands and DAP MP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo stands ready to provide all necessary legal assistance to Chou to defend media freedom and human rights undermined by the RTM and relevant authorities.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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