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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Total review of media freedom & amendments to all related laws.

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls for media freedom without affecting security in the country.

This means that the Central Government must consider amending all laws relating to media freedom such as the Printing Presses and Publication Act, Sedition Act and Official Secret Act.

Dr Tan makes this call at the DAP gathering in Kota Kinabalu on 12.12.2009.

To ensure media freedom, we must also look into laws that deal with relationship of the multiracial and multicultural society. Racial relations are of utmost importance.

For the past 52 years of Merdeka, there have been restrictions on media freedom including the press. Modern technology such as the Internet is changing the atmosphere. What is not seen in official media can be gleaned from the Internet such as blog. Much as we like the Government to report the truth, we also would like to see Internet reflects the true situation.

It is time that we repeal the Internal Security Act 1960 that has been meant for dealing with the Communists. As they have laid down arms since 1989, ISA should be replaced with Anti-Terrorism Act. A stable government must be able to prevent all forms of violence including suicide bombings.

Constrictions on freedom of expression and the right of information continue to cause concern in Malaysia. For example, the Offical Secrets Act 1972 prohibits the release of official documents. About one ago landslides in Ampang caused deaths and destruction. The Central Government stopped the release of the report on the tragedy. After protests, the document is being declassified.

The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 requires the keeper of a printing press to obtain a licence from the minister who has the power to refuse or renew it. This restricts press freedom.

Hence, we call for the total review of media freedom in the country and the amendments to all laws relating to the matter.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw


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