The journalists' union also asks all media agencies in the country to give equal coverage for all parties in the next election.
Its general-secretary V Anbalagan said the Cabinet’s decision to give each party a chance to promote their manifestoes would be welcomed by voters.
“This is a positive step and we believe that it will be welcomed by the public because voters should have access to information before they cast their ballots,” he said in a press statement.
He was referring to Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim, who said that all parties could air their manifestoes on government-owned Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and private TV stations.
In previous elections, political parties not aligned to Barisan Nasional would not get a chance to do this on Malaysia’s airwaves.
For many years, opposition parties had to rely on the Internet and grassroots work to get their message across.
At the same time, Anbalagan asked both government and private radio and TV stations to go the extra mile and give equal coverage to all political parties.
He also advised both the print and online media agencies to sell their advertising space to all parties.
In a related matter, Anbalagan hoped that the Election Commission (EC) would set up a media monitoring committee after Parliament and the state governments were dissolved for elections.
He said this committee would then monitor the Cabinet’s manifesto airtime decision as well as make sure that the media reported ethically.
“This committee should have powers to censure those who violate any guidelines,” he said.