Press Freedom Day message by Lim Guan Eng in Petaling Jaya on Saturday,
3rd May 2008:
government must stop harassing bloggers such as Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK)
and the police should observe the World Press Freedom Day by respecting
the freedom and the rights to free speech
Today, May 3
2008, is the World Press Freedom Day and DAPís struggle to establish a
free media environment in Malaysia will continue. Our resolve is firmly
strengthened with the peopleís voice when Malaysians voted for change on
March 8 2008.
strong call for reform, the federal government is slow to adapt to
changes. The Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) which requires
publishers and printers to apply for fresh permit annually has prevented
free and independent journalism. This has led to even not only senior
editors but also reporters resorting to self censorship.
repressive and preventive laws such as the Official Secrets Act,
Sedition Act and Internal Security Act have contributed to the stifling
of media freedom in this country, preventing journalists from reporting
and writing independently.
the situation has gone from bad to worse over the years. Last yearís
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index 2007 ranked Malaysia
at 124, dropped from 92 in 2006. It was the worst ever ranking for
country since 2002. Even under the tight control of former Prime
Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia was ranked 110th and 104th,
in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
DAP has been
voicing our concern and our ideas for freer Malaysia which also include
freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Our ideas have been
incorporated in many petitions and demands including Charter2000: A
Malaysian Citizensí Media Initiative which, among other things, demanded
enactment of a Freedom of Information Act, the provisions of which must
be based on the reflections and recommendations of the widest possible
spectrum of concerned groups and individuals as possible;
* The repeal
of the PPPA, the ISA, the OSA, the Sedition Act, the University and
University Colleges Act, and repressive clauses in all other
legislation. In particular, the government must cease to require
publishers and printing firms to obtain licences to publish;
cessation of abuse and manipulation of publicly owned media such as RTM
and Bernama by the federal government;
* The reform
of public and private media to ensure greater professionalism and high
ethical standards while promoting justice, freedom and solidarity.
that Utusan Malaysia continues its arrogance by refusing to admit
mistakes, even though it is caught red-handed for false reporting. I
have been a victim of such unprofessional act and lies are the reasons
why Utusan Malaysia has lost credibility with its readers do not trust
what is published.
commitment to press and media freedom is genuine. A group of our Members
of Parliament has set up a Caucus on Freedom of Expression and
Information which will get more people to support the cause.
the issue of media law reform, the freedom of information and equal
access to the media for all, we will work with all interested parties to
come up with a draft bill for the Freedom of Information Act. This will
be done to replace the repressive Official Secrets Act.
DAP urges the
federal government to continue the live telecast of question hour at the
Parliament not just for 30 minutes, but the full 90 minutes. There is
nothing to be afraid to show democracy in its truthful nature that
despite all the negativity, democracy is still the best form of
government that allows the rakyat to decide the future of their state.
Democracy and press freedom can ensure good governance, especially the
Penangís CAT government of competency, accountability and transparency.
freedom and the abolition of anti-human rights legislation can allow
democracy to flourish and give birth to a more open and transparent
Lim Guan Eng, DAP
Secretary-General & MP for Bagan & ADUN for Air Puteh