Malaysiakini Opinion

Freedom of expression - now you see it, now you don't

R Nadeswaran  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Last week, journalists believed that they had good reasons to celebrate but in the end, they turned to be fallacies.

On Thursday, a bill to abolish the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA) was tabled in Parliament.

Then came even (supposedly) better news - the High Court dismissed former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s bid to extend the interim gag order preventing the public and the media from discussing the criminal charges that have been brought against him.

Journalists, lawyers, civil service advocates, politicians and many other professionals were vociferous in our opposition to the AFNA when it was first mooted.

The protagonists of this law used their might in both the Houses – Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara – to shove it down our throats.

The mainstream media were numbed into silence and refused to take a stand – perhaps avoiding the risk of annoying their political masters. Even reporting how the law was pushed through Parliament was taboo.

Some news organisations even barred their journalists from joining the vocal and raucous protests and demands which contended that such a law restricts freedom of expression.

Today, newspapers and TV stations are enjoying something that they yearned for but were afraid to voice out. There is no reason to thump our chests and jeer or leer at them for their silence on an unacceptable and unpalatable piece of legislation...

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