The Pakatan Harapan government wants the establishment of the Malaysian Media Council, advocated by the media since 1974, to be expedited, said the prime minister's special advisor on media and communications, A Kadir Jasin.
He said the government, however, will not be involved in the process, instead, has left it to media practitioners to discuss the matter jointly.
“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 is expedited. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also been informed," he said.
He said this in his keynote address in conjunction with the National Media Forum organised by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) in Serdang 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 the council be placed 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 can 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, he said.
He said the government did not want the media to be monopolised or belong to any government-linked companies or political parties but must be people friendly.
Kadir also pointed out that the elements of reporting by news agencies and media companies have yet to fully adopt the significance of media freedom given by the Harapan government after May 9.
He said the media seems to be still trapped by the previous government that it cannot liberate the mind to tackle major issues that could be reported in line with the freedom offered.
On whether the Prime Minister's office had set certain guidelines for the media, Kadir said no, even his job specification does not allow him to give any advice to anyone other than the PM.
He said media colleagues and editors have also told him that they had not received any instructions or 'revelations' from any ministers or political officials since the Harapan formed the government.