I have written countless articles on the importance of press freedom.
A 18th century British Statesman, Edmund Burke, once professed:
“Three Estates in Parliament; but in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth estate more important far than they all”.
The 3 estates that he refered to are the 3 pillars of democracy, namely the Executive Branch, the lesgilative nad the judiciary. The Fourth estate is the press. To the westerner, the press plays an important role of a watchdog, and the press gives valuable feedback to the government.
I have been asking for the abolition of the Printing Press and Publications Act. We should allow more leeway for the people to express themselves, and what is better than having a freer press?
One of the mistakes of BN this time is that many of them BN leaders themselves are misled by the spin stories of the government controlled press, so much so that a few days before voting day, BN still confident ofa big victories, because the press had been posting rosy articles about BN’s candidates, and how well they were received by the people and so on.
I though they would have learn a lesson. But no., a Tamil newspaper, Makkal Osai, has been refused permit to carry on. They have to close down, just because, according to Malaysiakini reports, they have given prominent reports on opposition and published a photo of one of the HIndraf leaders under ISA detention.
This move will not endear govenrment leaders to the Indians but also all those Malaysians asking for freer press and more space for freedom.
will it herald the crackdown on other newspapers? I heard rumour that Oriental daily might be the next one. I do not know whether such talk is true or not, but I hope that it would not happen.
A newspaper that is critical of government policies may in fact help the government by providing frank and critical feedback. It is those who “bodek” and “spin stories” that a leader should be beware.
I hope the leaders will understand this point and perhaps review the ban on Makkal Osai.
pls also read this : reflections in a mirror