Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

WAMI:- Party Organs should be saleable to all citizens

WAMI  Statement   

Party Organs should be saleable to all citizens

Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) strongly condemn the government for deliberately disapproving or delaying the renewal of publication permits for three opposition parties’ organs, namely Suara Keadilan, Harakah and The Rocket. To date, only Harakah's permit is renewed.

WAMI holds that in democracy where citizens are free to choose their reading materials, party organs with narrow appeals cannot be sold beyond the circle of party loyalists even if they want to. 

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s assertion that the party organs must stick to the ministry’s guideline and restricting their sales to party members therefore only suggests that these party organs are actually popular beyond their membership.

And why would non-members spend their hard-earned money to buy overtly partisan views? The answer is simple: all mainstream media are now strictly controlled by the government through censorship and ownership made possible by restrictive laws like the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).

The opposition politicians are not only denied right to reply by government-controll ed mouthpieces such as Utusan Malaysia, they rarely have any opportunity to appear positively on state-owned television and radio station.

WAMI is also deeply concerned about the Home Minister's announcement that a committee of truth to stop dissemination of false news. In today's circumstances, such committee will become but another tool of the BN to control media. 

WAMI calls upon Malaysian citizens to protest the attempts to stop the publication of the three party organs. Such attempts are not only discrimination against the opposition parties, but more importantly, undermining the citizens' right to be informed.

All Malaysians should further press for a comprehensive reform of media laws, especially the Printing Processes and Publication Act (PPPA)
, we urge member of public write-in to the PM and Home Minister to demand to lift ban on the three party organs. The BN federal government should learn from and follow the example of Selangor, which has tabled Malaysia's first Freedom of Information legislation.

Wong Chin Huat
Chairperson, WAMI
Blog : http://wami528. wordpress. com

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