Gobind: Putrajaya will leave media council for industry to decide

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo visits the drone exhibition during the Parcel Drone Competition in Putrajaya March 7, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo visits the drone exhibition during the Parcel Drone Competition in Putrajaya March 7, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, March 7 — The government will let the media industry decide its course via the proposed Malaysian Media Council (MMC), Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said today.

The Puchong MP said the government intended to be silent partners to the council and extend aid when sought, he said was asked if it will appoint representatives to the body.

He pointed out that from the beginning, he has asked the industry to provide its suggestions and feedback.

“This shows that we want to actually get the media industry to set up the council, and then, of course, to come to us and discuss with us what it is their needs are.

"This is how the government will play a role. The government will play the role of listening to the Media Council and of course accepting proposals from them, and then we will assist in whichever way we can,” Gobind told reporters after attending a drone competition here.

Gobind said he is awaiting a report from the prime minister’s media and communications special adviser, Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, who is involved with stakeholder engagement, and will only make further announcements later.

Last year, Kadir, a veteran journalist, said that the Pakatan Harapan government supported the idea for local journalism to be self-regulated by an independent council, adding that the government will not be involved in the process.

Two days ago, the National Consultation on a Malaysian Media Council (MMC) agreed to set up a steering committee to discuss the setting up of the MMC, Bernama reported.

The news agency quoted Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) director Sonia Randhawa saying that the majority of the committee would comprise of among others, practising journalists, journalist associations and academics.

She said the committee aimed to hold a meeting in the next three weeks to draft a bill or constitution by April 30.

However, citing the outcome document of the conference, Bernama reported that participants at the event stressed that any effort to institute a media council was subject to the repeal of repressive laws currently governing the media.

These include the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984, the Sedition Act 1972, sections 233 and 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA), along with a review of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and the implementation of an information freedom law.

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