Najib must ensure that those who take his words seriously will not punished.
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to ensure that the media report what actually goes on. He should not penalize media people who follow his advice.
While it may be true that certain matters reflected in their real forms may affect the society badly, it does not mean that most of the things in the country are in this category. Hence, there must be freedom of the media as long it does not destroy the nation.
Dr Tan feels strongly about Najib's first official speech as the sixth Prime Minister on 6th April, 2009, entitled Policy, Politics and the New Media at the MPI-Petronas Malaysian Journalism Awards in Kuala Lumpur on 6.4.2009.
Najib wants to encourage respectful and fair dialogue on Malaysia's future involving the whole nation that takes place in a vibrant, free and informed media. He wants a world-class, fact-based reporting and media that is fair and responsible to foster constructive debate about the nation's future.
He says that the country needs a media which can responsibly report what they see, without fear of consequences, and to hold government and public officials accountable for the results they produce.
While it is true that personal attacks, rumours, innuendoes may not benefit the nation, transparency, accountability and reporting on what actually goes on in the country will help the public to look at the true pictures.
I agree that 'the media best serves the public interest when it goes beyond the superficial, when it asks the tough questions of the rumour-mongers, when it does not lend credence to false innuendo and instead reports on facts and details - whether that is helpful to the Government or not'.
We can see that the media reportage on the three by-elections, Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai, shows that it has less tendency to go beyond the superficial. It is plausible that the media are afraid that if they were to follow the rhetoric, they may be penalised. For example, when Tun Mahathir became the Prime Minister in 1981, he advocated freedom of the media. Many believed him and they suffered; some newspapers were shut down.
Najib must show that what he says count. Those who follow his advice will not be punished. He has asked Tun Dr Mahathir to campaign with him at the Bukit Gantang. The latter has stated that he has full confidence that Datuk Seri Najib can address the problems in the country, taking Malaysia to new heights benefiting all the races in the country. Will Najib follow Tun Mahathir's foot step, by hounding the media people who take his speech seriously.
The new Prime Minister can read all the media reports on the above-stated by-elections in the last few days. He can judge for himself whether the reportage falls into the category that he mentions in his speech.
Dr Tan Seng Giaw