Bersih: Free and fair media coverage needed for a more democratic Malaysia

Bersih 2.0 said media and broadcasting organisations are now able to cover events organised by the current Pakatan Harapan government, which the mainstream media had shunned before. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Bersih 2.0 said media and broadcasting organisations are now able to cover events organised by the current Pakatan Harapan government, which the mainstream media had shunned before. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

PETALING JAYA, May 22 — Electoral reform movement Bersih 2.0 maintained the need for free and fair media coverage of all sides of the political divide, as the country collectively embraces a new dawn and a new Malaysia.

Following the fall of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government after holding power for 61 years since independence, Bersih 2.0 said media and broadcasting organisations are now able to cover events organised by the current government and former Opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan (PH), which the mainstream media had shunned before.

“However, it is important that the media should start a new chapter by giving equal media coverage to all political parties and abandon the old habits of providing one-sided stories in favour of the ruling parties as under BN’s era.

“The taxpayer-funded state media such as radio and television stations should no longer serve the government of the day, but to also provide equal media coverage to all sides for taxpayers to make informed decisions,” the Bersih 2.0 steering committee said in a statement today.

Bersih 2.0 also said the PH government’s 27th promise in their manifesto was to abolish draconian laws including the Sedition Act 1948 and the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 as well as the removal of draconian clauses in the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998.

“In addition to these laws, PH leaders have also repeated announced that they will abolish the recently enacted Anti-Fake News Act 2018.

“We call for these legislations to be repealed or reviewed immediately in line with human rights and press freedom in the first session of the parliament,” read the statement, adding that Bersih 2.0 urged the PH government to accord press freedom with constitutional protection.