A lot of people has credited the present PM for making Malaysia more liberal. But is this the case?
The latest ranking of press freedom by Reporters Without Frontiers as reported in Malaysiakini shows that Malaysia is getting worse in press freedom. Malaysia ranked 92 in 2006, 124 in 2007and now, in 2008, we are ranked 132.
Mainstream media are tightly controlled and often newspapers editors are called up to the relevant ministry for briefing, which in fact are instruction giving session on what can be and what cannot be reported.
ISA were used to arrest RPK and a newspaper journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, and this would be forever a black mark on our press freedom record.
While the Chinese press are more daring in airing non-conforming views on certain issues, there is actually a monopoly in the Chinese press, with most of the major newspapers owned by a single person, and through that single person, the authority can easily control the Chinese press.
Of late, a Malay newspaper has published a story purported about a fictatious character, YB J, who was assasinated when she went to officiate at a certain function. This is a clear case of incitement in the name of press freedom, and this YB J bears a very strong similarities to the real life character of YB Teresa, another victim of ISA.
This sort of things pains all of us who want to see a freer press. A free press is actually a mirror for those leaders running the government. They reflect what is on the ground, and without such reflection, how could the leaders gauge the mood of the people and what the people want. One of the many reasons BN lost in the last GE is that they have got wrong feedback, primarily because the press is not functioning as it should as a mirror of the mood of the people.
I have written on 3 consecutive three years (2206, 2007 and now 2008) on the deteriorating rankings , and I really dread to think what would be the ranking next year.
At the rate things are going, i doubt there would be any hope of our press becoming more free. That is why nowadays, I read the net more than the Main Stream newspapers, and I can tell you, I am not alone.