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Proposed media council: ‘It’s taking two steps backwards’

 | July 26, 2011

The proposal to form a council to set the direction for media growth has come under fire.

PETALING JAYA: PKR’s communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad dismissed the government’s proposed National Media Council as taking “two steps backwards”.

He also criticised the proposal that two Barisan Nasional (BN) ministers – Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim – be made co-chairmen of the council.

“This is not a step forward. This is two steps backwards. What is being proposed is not moving away from the old regime,” Nik Nazmi, who is also Seri Setia state assemblyman, told the press here today.

He said the council should be an autonomous body, with media practitioners determining its direction and not the government.

He also said that “even some from the BN-controlled mainstream media are against the proposal”.

He was referring to a news report by online news portal The Malaysian Insider that senior editors in the mainstream circle have launched a “silent protest” against the council by sending junior editors to its maiden meeting last week.

Nik Nazmi also said Hishammuddin and Rais are “not the best” figures to sit on the council, implicitly accusing the two of lacking independence and credibility.

The others on the council are representatives from the government, print, electronic and news media organisations and selected non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

It is understood that last week’s meeting was to discuss the council’s terms of reference including its roles, objectives, functions, membership and activities.

According to the The Malaysian Insider, the suggested roles include fostering a “participative and engaging” cooperation between the government and the media; strengthening journalistic ethics, social responsibility and spirit of patriotism; setting the direction for media growth; and protecting press freedom “according to the law”.


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