Setting up Malaysian Media Council does not contradict press freedom principles

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The proposed establishment of the Malaysia Media Council, which has been described as a regulatory mechanism, does not contradict the principles of media freedom championed by the government, the Dewan Negara was told.

Deputy Communications and Digital Minister Teo Nie Ching said that media freedom does not imply freedom without limits, but rather that the media has a responsibility to report from valid sources and in an ethical and fair manner.

“Our neighbouring country, Indonesia, has the Dewan Pers, a form of a media council, but what we want is for regulations to come from the industry itself to prevent any abuse of power.

“In our context, there is often concern that the government will use existing laws to restrict media freedom, but if the regulations come from the industry itself, I believe it is fairer and can ensure the interests of all parties, including the government, opposition and the public,” she said on Wednesday (June 21) in reply to Senator Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai.

Teo said that the Malaysian Media Council would serve as a platform for any party who is uncomfortable or dissatisfied with media reporting to submit their complaints.

To Senator Datuk Juhanis Abd Aziz’s question on the engagement session regarding the proposal, Teo said that a meeting would be held after the pro-tem committee gives their feedback on the draft of the Malaysian Media Council bill.

Furthermore, she said there is a proposal to include another provision in the bill to ensure that 30% of committee members of the Malaysian Media Council are women, but this matter needs to be agreed upon by the pro-tem committee and relevant stakeholders.

“The Communications and Digital Ministry is actively engaging in discussions with the pro-tem committee, which comprises journalists, publishers, broadcasters and news organisations on the details pertaining to the proposed establishment of the Malaysian Media Council.

“These discussions cover various aspects, including the functions and funding of the Malaysian Media Council, which are included in the draft bill that is currently being updated for approval,” she added. – Bernama

Source: The Star