As a purported copy of RTM’s content guidelines circulates on social media platforms, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo assured that the state broadcaster is free to report without restrictions.
He said he has not seen the purported content guidelines, but pledged to look into the matter and provide a response as soon as he can.
“There’s no restriction on what they report. I have told them at the end of day, it is for them (to decide) what they want to report, what slant they want to take and how they think their report should be.
“That’s something I’ve said from start. I've maintained that,” he told reporters when asked at a meet-the-media session hosted by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) in Kuala Lumpur today.
The document circulating on social media is ostensibly content guidelines for coverage relating to opposition-led states.
Among others, it stipulates that RTM could provide coverage for the sultan, governor, and heads of federal government departments in opposition-led states, as well as non-political NGOs, pro-federal government NGOs, and matters of news value that are apolitical.
As for guests on its shows, only those who are apolitical or whose views are in line with the federal government may be invited.
With regard to opposition states, the guideline stipulates that RTM cannot be involved in state government programmes, or receive sponsorships or contributions from these state governments.
Among those who circulated the purported guidelines is former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
“Pakatan Harapan said the government would uphold media freedom, so Pakatan Harapan supporters clapped and cheered.
“But look behind closed doors and it is a different story. After this, they would spin and blame Najib, blame BN,” he chided.
Meanwhile, asked whether plans to merge RTM and national news agency Bernama are still on the cards, Gobind said it is, but it is not being worked on.
“We are doing other things in RTM and Bernama. Let us get certain things done first and we will consider what to do next,” he said.