Govt wants media council to be set up soon, says Kadir Jasin

Veteran newsman Kadir Jasin denies that the Prime Minister’s Office has set certain guidelines for the media. (Bernama pic)

SERDANG: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government wants the establishment of the Malaysian Media Council, advocated by media practitioners since 1974, to be expedited, says A Kadir Jasin, the prime minister’s special adviser on media and communications.

He said the government, however, will not be involved in the process. Instead, it has left it to media practitioners to jointly discuss the matter.

“I am happy that traditional, electronic and online media editors have started discussions and forums to set up the council.

“I have also spoken to the parties concerned, suggesting that the establishment process be expedited. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also been informed.”

He said this in his keynote address in conjunction with the National Media Forum, organised by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) here today.

Kadir said the government was willing to work with media organisations to provide the council with legal backing in the form of legislative statutes, including placing the council under the auspices and funding of the Parliament.

He hoped the group discussing the setting up of the council could hold a forum or a larger meeting, involving practitioners, media company owners, journalism teachers and communication and professional bodies, to help formulate the council’s framework before the end of the year.

The task of setting up a media council should be a joint effort and the government is of the view that the interests of the media must be maintained by the media groups themselves without outside intervention or control, Kadir said.

He said the government did not want the media to be monopolised or belong to any government-linked companies or political parties, but it should be people-friendly.

Kadir said reporting by news agencies and media companies had yet to fully adopt the media freedom given by the PH government after the May 9 polls.

He said the media seems to be still trapped by the mindset of the previous government, so much so that it could not tackle major issues that could be reported in line with the freedom offered.

He denied that the Prime Minister’s Office had set certain guidelines for the media.

Even his job specification does not allow him to give any advice to anyone except the prime minister, he said.

Kadir said media colleagues and editors had also told him that they had not received any instructions or “revelations” from any ministers or political officials since the PH formed the government.