Follow gov’t guidelines, media warned

The Home Ministry has issued a warning to ‘media practitioners’ to follow guidelines set by the government soon after it rescinded its recent decision to block the highly popular Malaysia Today website, an unpopular move that was criticised by critics and concerned Malaysians.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said, ‘Most importantly, while we want freedom and openness, we must also bear the responsibility as Malaysians to ensure peace and public order and prevent people from inciting and humiliating others and breaking the law.

‘So, it is a warning or a reminder and after it has been served, I hope it will raise the awareness because the power of the media be it blogs, in print or electronic to influence the society in general is very deep and significant.’

The ministry, he added, had also ‘served show-cause letters to several media firms bent on creating tension among the people’.

Wait a sec. Is the Minister trying to imply that these ‘media practitioners’ were the ones responsible of late in ‘inciting and humiliating others’? Hmm, this is strange. I thought that the media merely reported what certain individuals said and did in public which, in turn, created uneasiness and hurt in society — as well as public reaction to their (the individuals concerned) actions.

Isn’t this tantamount to an attempt to metaphorically kill the messenger for the message that has been transmitted to the general public?

Or could it be that he’s merely refering to a certain mainstream newspaper that had allegedly published of late a kind of reporting that could stoke up ethnic and religious sentiments?

By the way, it appears that the Minister, in issuing his latest warning, had placed blogs on par with the mainstream media as far as their influence on society — which ‘is very deep and significant’ — is concerned.


6 Responses to “Follow gov’t guidelines, media warned”

  1. 1 Malaysian Observer 12 September 2008 at 8:42 am

    Perhaps the Home Minister has forgotten that the government consists of both houses of parliament, the judiciary & the executive office. The government is not UMNO or BN.

  2. 2 Patricia 12 September 2008 at 10:52 am

    Hi Mustafa!

    So much to ponder here….

    First of all, syabas to the blogs, like yours, (I won’t say ‘us’, cos my blog is main-main saje!) for their ‘deep and significant’ influence on the public. It is about time ‘they’ acknowledged this fact.

    And I agree that it is the msm that ‘incites’, rather than the blogs. Their reporting or lack thereof irritates us to the point of dementia. They either treat us like imbeciles, or it’s like an event never happened – just because they didn’t touch it! And we’re supposed to be grateful for that?

    However, while I am happy that they’ve rescinded the block on Malaysia Today, I think that some of us need to understand that we, too, have a responsibility while we blog or comment on others’ blogs.

    The kind of comments I’ve read – for example, on Malaysia Today – are horrific: foul language, uncalled for remarks, racist rantings, etc. Is that the behaviour of responsible persons?

    If we want to be taken seriously as the alternative media, we should walk the walk, not just talk the talk – as we keep asking the PM to do!

    When we behave like little spoilt brats and spit crap at our fellow Malaysians for their different race, beliefs or political alignment, then we deserve having the book thrown at us.

    Sorry to go on and on. But, I think that some of the crap that has fallen on RPK is the fact that his ‘commentors’ are unprincipled and uncontrolled.

    Given this olive branch – for that is what I believe this is – we should uphold ourselves in a manner we can all be proud of. It shouldn’t be that hard to do.

  3. 3 ctchoolaw 12 September 2008 at 1:45 pm

    I second what Patricia has said. I must confess that I’ve had to reinstate the Moderator function on my blog because I’ve discovered to my horror and disgust that 2 visitors (at last count) had left racist comments in 2 of my entries. One I had to delete because it was directed at a particular community. The other I have left alone since it was only directed at MY ethnicity (I have thick skin and I hope for sympathy!). But racism is ugly and should be stopped.

  4. 4 Patricia 12 September 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I have never been so wrong!

    It was no olive branch, Mustafa.

    They’ve arrested RPK! Why? Why? Why?

  5. 5 Kok Keong 12 September 2008 at 9:35 pm

    “Isn’t this tantamount to an attempt to metaphorically kill the messenger for the message that has been transmitted to the general public?”

    Given the ISA arrest of RPK and show-cause letters issued to Sin Chew, The Sun, and Suara Keadilan, the answer is obviously and sickeningly YES. Ironically, just as Mahathir has agreed to rejoin Umno, Badawi’s shaky administration has decided to resort to such a dastardly desperate measure to hang on to power. This action definitely throws out all previous claims that Badawi’s administration has been more open, tolerant of media freedom than under Mahathir’s administration.

  1. 1 Show cause letters for 3 newspapers « I Am Malaysian Trackback on 12 September 2008 at 1:40 pm

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