Threats to media the reason why the press freedom index has fallen

SHAH ALAM, 30 Apr: Stern action against media practitioners, such as arrests and threats, has contributed to the decline in the press freedom index in Malaysia.

The former President of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mohd Hata Wahari, said that government agencies are used as a tool to put pressure on media practitioners to control the freedom and rights to expression.

“The latest, the Angry Media Movement (GERAMM) has been declared illegal when it is only a loose group asking media freedom.

“Stern action against journalists have severely impacted the index,” he told Selangor Kini.

The Press Freedom 2014 Report by Freedom House, based in the United States of America, shows that Malaysia’s marks declined from 64 to 65 and categorised as “not free”.

Hata said that laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act is also not relevant because it prevents news from being published independently.

“The Act should be amended. There is no need for permits, only control in terms of quality, quantity or editorial,” he said.

Mohd Hata said that the arrests of cartoonists also affect the index and it will continue to fall if no serious attention is given.

“The government does not want to learn, does not want to compromise and look at media freedom from a good point of view,” he said.

NS

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