Posts Tagged 'Media freedom'

SOS! Save MerdekaReview!

Save Merdeka Review!! ONLY 11 days to go!!

by Merdeka Review Fans Club on Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 12:44

The funder(s) of Merdeka decided that they no longer want to fund Merdeka, we can only sustain until end of May, which means we have ONLY 11 days to go. You can decide whether we can stay on by donate to us NOW!!

For the past 5 years, Merdeka team had build up this news portal from scratch, with an simple idea to provide alternative news to our fellow Malaysians and push for a more democratic Malaysia.

Merdeka began its operation since August 2005, to serve breaking news and in depth news analysis focusing on national and economic issues to our reader. Merdeka reports extensively on politics, public policy, judiciary, human rights, religion, environment and health issues, and make the marginalized group’s voice heard.

We set up our BM version since July 2009 to bridge the gap between Chinese speaking society and malay speaking society, to promote integration of both societies.

Our readership increase exponentially for the past few years, and our advertisement income increase for the past one year. Just when we are preparing for the General Election coverage, we were blown by this sudden change of incident.

In order to maintain our operation, we need RM 60,000 a month, our advertisement income is still fall short. With the funder’s recent decision, we have no choice but to appeal to our reader and friends who love to see a better Malaysia by donating to Merdeka Review.

We hope that you can help us by doing the following:

1. Donate to Merdeka Review to help us go through this difficult time, so that we can sustain longer to find other investor(s).

2. Become our long term investor(s) by investing/funding merdekareview,or assist us in seeking long term investor(s)

3. Write in to support Merdeka Review on self-sustain action.

4. Please help us to spread the news.

You can donate to Merdeka Review via online banking or bank in to our account:

Hong Leong Bank Account:Merdeka Review Sdn. Bhd. (acc no:04001025891)

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Merdeka Review Team: Chang Teck Peng, Chan Wei See, Lim Hong Siang, Chen Shaua Fui, Neo Chee Hua, Chan Kim Ming, Ong Vic Kee, Leong Khong, Saw Siow Feng, Jerry Kwan, Heng Sai Cheng

Of propaganda and social reality

As state propaganda machinery strives to conceal or distort social reality, other media battle relentlessly to present the ‘real thing’. The current Egyptian crisis, for instance, is instructive — as revealed by international satellite TV station Al Jazeera.

When a regime becomes acutely insecure…

Faced with mounting protests from restless citizens and elaborate and investigative reporting particularly by independent Al Jazeera, the Egyptian regime revoked the Network’s licence to broadcast from the country and withdrew accreditation of all the broadcasting station’s staff.

Despite this turn of event, Al Jazeera’s resolve to soldier on apparently has not been dented.

Earlier on, the regime has clamped down on the Internet, Twitter and cellphone network.

See here for full story.

New rules for ‘cyber-sedition’?

Deep concern has been expressed by various quarters in Malaysia over the reported plan by the federal government ‘to define the controversial sedition law for cyberspace’.

If and when put in place, these new rules, it is feared, would affect people who depend substantially on the Internet and social media, such as the Twitter and Facebook, to communicate with the general public.

Certain politicians and social activists view this plan as another attempt at further restricting freedom of expression and the public space, which has been enlarged by the Internet for the civil society.

The use of the Internet grew in a big way in the last general elections particularly among those who have no, or less access to, the mainstream media. 

Facebook has been popular especially among the younger generation. Its utility has been further enhanced in public campaigns such as the recent campaign against the plan to build the 100-storey tower in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

The truth about Malaysia’s MSM

In his latest outburst, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz reprimanded the Utusan Malaysia for not giving support to UMNO president Najib Razak, particularly in relation to the daily’s backing of the controversial Perkasa and ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad.

He also reminded the vocal Malay mainstream newspaper that it should behave like many other mainstream dailies, particularly The Star (owned by MCA), that is, not only do they know who their real bosses are but also support their bosses’ actions and policies.

Nazri also attempted to draw a parallel between the above mainstream newspapers and party organs such as the Harakah and Suara Keadilan, which, according to him, toe the party line.

There are two things that need to be said arising from the Nazri statement: firstly, he only reaffirms the contention by many media observers and political analysts all this while that dailies such as the Utusan Malaysia and The Star are indeed owned by the component parties of the BN coalition. This is where the factor of editorial influence, if not control, by the political parties concerned comes in.

And secondly, there is a vital difference between the said mainstream newspapers and the party organs: the dailies pretend to be the newspapers that reflect and represent the interests of the ordinary Malaysians while the party organs, by their very definition, rightly prioritise the interests and concerns of the respective political parties.

Given this situation, it is no surprise that many ordinary Malaysians have abandoned the mainstream dailies because of their questionable credibility and consequently have opted for the online newspapers (and other forms of new media), which they perceive, rightly or wrongly, to be socially responsible and exercising some degree of investigative journalism.

To be sure, the credibility of most of the mainstream newspapers cannot be simply enhanced by mere persuasion or cajoling from government leaders in calling on the ordinary folks to embrace the mainstream dailies because they claim these dailies are more trustworthy. Credibility, as many journalists worth their salt would tell you, is normally built over many years of fair, free and responsible journalism.

Charge of the light brigade

Like everything else in contemporary Malaysian life, this piece requires a caveat before I can really begin to write without being painfully misunderstood or, worse, getting myself into trouble by having some serious-looking blokes lodging a police report against me. 

I am saying this because I am reminded of the reported case of a Malaysian blogger, writing by his cyber name of Hassan Skodeng, who got himself into trouble for having written a satirical piece or parody about the powerhouse Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). He is to be charged in court today (Sept. 2, 2010) under Section 233(1)(a) of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998, for allegedly “creating and spreading lies with the malicious intent to hurt others.” If found guilty, he is punishable by imprisonment up to a year and/or fine of RM50,000 or less. No laughing matter here. 

According to a news report in The Star today (Sept. 2, 2010), Skodeng’s article asserted that TNB would be suing WWF for organising an ‘Earth Hour’ campaign, which was costing the corporation ‘millions in unrealised revenue’. 

To be sure, I am not trying to make light of this case as it does appear that the authorities concerned have taken this supposedly satire rather seriously. Come to think of it, perhaps there’s a blessing in disguise from this episode in that satires are finally taken seriously by people who matter — instead of being merely dismissed as balderdash.

For the rest of the article, see here.

Media Merdeka!

In conjunction with the 53rd Merdeka celebration this year, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) has called for the unshackling of Malaysia’s mainstream press through the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act.