Leaders neednt worry about press freedom

Truly Malaysian

Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

I refer to the malaysiakini report Some in gov't 'nervous' about press freedom: Nazri' .

Do people realise that press freedom in the unofficial fourth institution to check and balance the officially elected bodies of the legislative (Parliament), executive and judiciary? Nobody wants a lecture on the elected bodies but I find that only in Malaysia can a minister come outright and state that 'there are leaders within the ruling administration who are nervous about the current extent of press freedom'.

Who are these leaders? I guess it's the legislative people. How did they get there? Well, we the Malaysian people elected them. Seriously, do we - the people - want restrictions on freedom of the press? Nay! Let's have a referendum, not by the government but by some impartial body and then decide whether we, the people, need a restriction on freedom of the press.

The minister then goes on to utter gibberish. Why the concern for a few leaders who want to shackle press freedom in our society? Until and when actual malice is clear, with the knowledge that what is published is false or reckless, the issues raised by the press should not be censored even though it may include vigorous, mordant and offensive attacks on the government and its public officials.

Why fear and create unnecessary regulations? Is the Malaysian society so dim-witted that they are unable to digest and make judgement on press reports or is this just another method to fetter the only other avenue for society's grievances? Let's get real about this.

Press freedom in the Internet age has really been the light at the end of the tunnel for our society. So many views, so much happening, so much knowledge. It is refreshing and in no way should it be curbed or restricted. Without a free and informed press, there can be no enlightenment for the society. No law should be made to abridge the freedom of the press.

Any illogical curbing of this freedom will only take away the society's last unofficial resort for redemption. As the saying goes, 'the pen (or nowadays the keyboard) is mightier than the sword'.

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