Press freedom and Press Complaints commission

I have written so many posts on Press freedom (or the need for it), that I have lost count and I would have problems retrieving my old articles.

Freedom of the press is the most important requisite for a successful democracy to function. It has been termed the 4th pillar of democracy since it can play the role of a watchdog and give feedback to those governing.

Although Malaysian politicians like the retired MM like to say that there is no absolute freedom, and that the press can be manupulated by the people who own the papers , it is still important for the government to do away with restrictive laws such as the Press and Printing Presses Act.

If there are no restrictive acts, then more people can start a newspapers, and readers will have a better choice to choose from. When readers have the choice to choose, even the owners of the papers would have to be careful to report the truth, otherwise, once people know that a particular paper is spinning stories , people would boycott that papers . So in that way, people’s power can keep a newspaper to be truthful in reporting, and that is exactly what happens in the West, even though once in a while, human error may result in genuine mistakes in reporting.

Recently a Chinese paper was hauled up to explain why it headlined the news that a Chief has resigned. Even though it was later denied by the chief, and the paper may have made a genuine mistake, an apology would have been sufficient to let readers know that it has no bad intention. It is also partially right, since even the Minister concerned admitted that certain officers including this chief is due to retire later this year.

I hope this issue can be solved amicably and no heads need to roll. If any action is taken to this paper, it would have done democracy an injustice. It is like a whistle blower who may have got the time and date wrong , but essentially what the whistle blower did was right.

That is why it is important to do away with restrictive acts. A press council like the one they have in Britain  and which is known as  Press Complaints Commission which consists of representatives from amjor newspapers themselves should be set up to let the newspapers self regulate. The commission has a published code of conduct known as Code of Practice and this code has resulted in a high standard of the English newspapers, as compared to the local ones here.

If the government is sincere to reform, then it must start with a free press, do away with the restrictive act. Otherwise, whatever reform would be like cosmetics, the ugly face is still below the layer of cosmetics applied.

pls revisit this article:

Do not break the mirror on the wall.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 14:07:35

    Dr. Hsu. I heard a bit of the behind the scene story of the one you referred to. It is not what it seemed in the newspaper. The behind the scene story is worrying and scary..

    1. The Chinese newspaper was not as innocent as portrayed. It got the tip from that senior govt official, the one who gave it the warning.

    2. The purpose of the senior govt official ( now called CH – for cow head) was to put pressure on The Chief to resign.

    3. CH is tapping the criminal underground economy to raise political fund. He want to be No.2. For this he need a lot of money to win his party election.

    4. CH had raised over 10M by getting paid for letting go people in the underground economy who were arrested by the Chief’s people.

    5. The Chief had been blocking many of CH’s unsavoury activities. Hence, CH and the criminal underground economy schemed to force The Chief out.

    6. Ask your friend working in the underground economy. There was a bet going on with odds that The Chief would resign by 1st April. I know a person who won a lot of money by betting that the Chief will not resign.

    Knowing the story, I do not believe a word that was printed. There is more to this story.

    CH action is selling out the country. It would lead to the underground economy taking over the official economy one day.

    Like

  2. CYC
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 14:41:13

    Who dare to say there isn’t press freedom in Malaysia ? Utusan Malaysia can vouch for its existence with detailed evidence. Even KTK could prove the govt has met its KPI on this. He conveniently categorise those who labeled his ancestors as prostitutes that speech/press freedom is well alive in Malaysia. Perhaps he enjoyed being insulted.

    Anti Gerakan 001.

    Like

  3. klm
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 15:14:20

    To me the Chinese newspaper warning is not real. It has nothing to do with press freedom. It is some dirty game going on. That is why it is sickening.

    Like

  4. Dr Hsu
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 16:21:42

    talking about the press, i would like to post something here which was sent to me by CYC. Thank you CYC.

    It is about an obituary in a London paper:

    An Obituary

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has
    been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since
    his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be
    remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – and maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more
    than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in
    charge).

    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but
    overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy
    charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended
    from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for
    reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job
    that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly
    children.

    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental
    consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not
    inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an
    abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and
    criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a
    burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to
    realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in
    her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by
    his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son,
    Reason.

    He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
    I Know My Rights
    I Want It Now
    Someone Else Is To Blame
    I’m A Victim

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
    still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do
    nothing.
    ………………………………
    I suspect, in bolehland, the equivalent of this person has long passed away.

    Like

  5. klm
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 16:24:39

    I agree. Common sense has long passed away and his place is taken over by Boleh Sense.😦

    Like

  6. cilipadi
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 17:26:48

    If you bit the hand that feeds you all this while, then what?

    Live by immoral means, immoral retribution is what you get. Cow Head, Pig Head, Chief Head, Arrogant Head, Banana Head, Dick Head are all the same. Live by immoral means. Underground warlords are no angel.

    Immoral Head makan cili, Chief Head rasa pedas

    Like

  7. Meng
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 10:46:43

    Looks like klm has expose the plot by CH. Real dirty and we do not know what other plot he has???

    The Chief has found his match.

    Like

  8. klm
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 10:52:20

    Moral of the Chinesee press story. If you sleep with the devil, make sure you dont get burned by the fire of hell.

    Like

  9. CYC
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 16:11:38

    Chinese in general still preserve the kind of “Nu Chai” (slavery) mentality. They prefer to kow tow to ppl who belong to the presumably higher hierarchy in society irregardless of their true virtues and wisdom. Hence, they continue to be manipulated by those wolf with sheep skin. They will never change because they were molded in such way since young. Therefore one shouldn’t be purely expose to education solely conducted in Mandarin throughout their early life. Some infusion of foreign language will definitely balance up the extreme inflexibility or flexibility for that matter.

    Lateral thinking will only crops out when they are dealing weird or cunning ventures such as political war. It simply failed to manifest in genuine and normal course of affairs. Why is it so? Perhaps they are always guided by the concept of “self gain” and not for the benefit of society at large or mankind. Having said that, there were not short of vocabulary that emphasize the virtue of self sacrifice and working towards happiness of mankind in Mandarin.

    Look at that bunch scumbags in the MCA fiasco, see how do they justified their cause of fighting for position will make you vomit. These are the ppl who expect you to kow tow and acknowledge them as savior or leader with exceptional wisdom. Even those full of greed in their head could claimed they are as pure as lotus and calm as still water. May be we should suggest them to sit on an altar up there and be revered with candles and flowers.

    Be more sensible and reason with a clear head and detach from the craving of certain unreal fantasies especially towards certain personalities as something we can’t do without. Otherwise we will forever go round the circle bonded by our unique philosophy of “Being Smooth and round”.

    Like

  10. disgusted
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 01:55:28

    Dr,

    Not just fighting for press freedom but also one more:

    The Right to Information Act (as in the US).

    Like

  11. Dr Hsu
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 09:54:25

    monk
    you are right.

    Like

  12. klm
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 14:12:35

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