KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — A pro-tem committee has been formed today to discuss and scrutinise the draft Bill to create the country’s first media council following the Cabinet’s decision to establish the self-regulatory body last December.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, in announcing the formation of the 17-member pro-tem committee, said the formation follows a meeting between the ministry and relevant representatives this morning.
“This decision is a huge leap as the effort to establish the media council has started moving again after much delay. I was made to understand that the suggestion of establishing a media council was raised for the first time 45 years ago.
“Now in line with the aspiration of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto (Promise 27), we will form a media council represented by media powerhouses who will be responsible for the coordination of ethical guidelines in reporting and acting as an arbitrator in handling complaints as well as media-related feedbacks,” he said in a statement here.
According to Gobind, the establishment of the pro-tem committee follows the Cabinet’s decision on December 6, which had agreed to the proposal of a media council as a self-regulatory body to look into the interest of the media and its practitioners.
The committee comprised of 17 individuals representing various print, electronic and online media organisations, local and international journalists’ organisations, unions and NGOs in the country.
Gobind said the committee now has two months to discuss and study the draft bill for the establishment and functions of the media council.
A total of five areas would be studied — the council’s objectives and functions, its constitution and membership, code of conduct, methods of resolving disputes and studying present laws which required amendments or abolishment when the council has been formed.
He added the council would strengthen media freedom as well as safeguarding the rights of media practitioners and ensuring more responsible media conduct.
The MMC was previously proposed as a self-regulatory body that could set high standards for the media community to help build and maintain public confidence in the industry and to act as an arbitration body between the people and the media for the benefit of all Malaysians.