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Bersih: What fair access to media?

 | June 13, 2012

Allowing the broadcast of manifestos during the campaign period is not enough, says Ambiga

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih today belittled the government’s decision to allow all political parties to broadcast manifestos on TV, saying it is a far cry from giving them free media access.

The decision, which Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim announced recently, did not meet the public demand for free and fair access to the media for all election contenders, said Bersih leader S Ambiga.

“Publishing manifestos is hardly the free access that we are talking about,” she said. “We are talking about all parties having free access to the media.”

Rais said last week that the Cabinet arrived at the decision after studying requests by political parties for equal airtime during the election campaign period to promote their manifestos.

The Election Commission announced recently that 13th general election would have a minimum 10-day campaigning period.

Ambiga questioned the government’s sincerity, saying fair media access should not be limited to the campaigning period.

“If they are committed to free and fair elections, then do it now,” she said.

Nevertheless, she added, the Cabinet decision itself was an acknowledgment that there has been no free and fair access to the media.


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