10 news portals to get OK from government

The Information Ministry will soon issue its accreditation passes to ten news portals to enable them ‘to work in Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Department and government buildings’.

 

According to a NST report, these news portals include mainstream and vernacular newspapers, broadcast television channels and foreign wire agencies.

 

‘Bloggers, however, will not be given accreditation even if they report socio-political news as their sites are considered personal in nature,’ the report added.

 

These accreditation passes will have to be approved by the Information Ministry’s secretary-general.

 

The news report quoted a ministry source as saying that news portals Malaysiakini, Agenda Daily and Malaysian Insider could also apply.

 

This should be good news to people like Malaysiakini as all along they’ve been sidelined from government functions, sources and information to the extent that their coverage has been perceived, particularly by the government and the ruling coalition, as being pro-opposition and, therefore, unbalanced and unfair. (But then, it doesn’t seem to work the other way around: the mainstream media may have access to the Opposition, and yet their coverage may not necessarily be balanced and fair.)

 

What is equally important is that Malaysians also need to know the criteria used by the ministry in the issuance of these passes simply for reason of transparency and fairness. Another reason is that the pass issuance is, in a sense, yet another control mechanism of the government. (Couldn’t this pass issuance be administered by a professional non-government outfit?)  

 

It then follows that Malaysians would want to know whether websites like the Chinese language Merdekareview would be granted a pass if they decide to also apply. Can, to take another example, Malaysia Today fit the bill?

 

As for bloggers being pushed aside from this equation because they ‘are considered personal in nature’, perhaps it’s worth mulling over the argument that the line between journalists and bloggers is now ‘blurring’. See here.

 

 

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