Press freedom is an important part of Malaysia’s democracy.

Press freedom is an important part of Malaysia’s democracy.

By – Dino Gombak

Every year on May 3, people around the world celebrate World Press Freedom Day. This day serves as a reminder of the basic principles of press freedom and the important role journalists play in keeping democracy alive around the world. There have been both improvements and problems with the media in Malaysia, so this day is especially important there. As reporters, we need to think about how press freedom is doing in our country and recommit ourselves to protecting this basic human right.

What Malaysia Has Done to Improve Press Freedom: Malaysia has done a lot over the years to improve press freedom. The important general elections of 2018 were a turning point that pointed the way towards a more open media environment. It’s a big step towards a freer press that harsh laws like the Anti-Fake News Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) have been thrown out.

Problems Journalists Face: Problems still exist, even though progress has been made. Malaysian journalists still have to deal with restrictions, legal threats, and fears of violence. Laws like the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) make it harder for people to say what they want, which often causes people who work in the media to self-censor.

Why a Free Press Is Important: A free press is necessary for a society to work well. As a watchdog, it makes sure that those in power are held responsible and that government is open and honest. It is very important for journalists to give people correct and fair information so that people can make smart choices and take part in political processes.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that Malaysia is ranked 119th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index. The group talks about their worries about limits on press freedom, such as the government’s power over the media and legal threats of journalists and media sites. RSF’s report shows that writers in Malaysia still face many problems and that more changes need to be made right away to protect press freedom.

Position of the Government on Press Freedom: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) recently put out a statement stressing how important it is to use social media responsibly. “MCMC would like to remind everyone to cease the dissemination of provocations and refrain from making provocative comments, especially those that touch on the 3Rs (race, royalty, religion) on social media,” it stated. While encouraging responsible communication is important, some critics say that comments like these could be used to support censorship and silence views that disagree.

Protecting Press Freedom in Malaysia: To protect press freedom in Malaysia, writers, media organisations, civil society, and the government must all work together. Journalists must continue to follow the rules of ethical news and report on topics of public interest without fear. Reporters should be able to do their jobs without fear or favour because media organisations should help them and give them tools.

In honour of World Press Freedom Day, let us renew our dedication to protecting press freedom in Malaysia. A press that is free and impartial is not only a luxury, it is a constitutional right. We help democracy, openness, and responsibility grow in our country by protecting the freedom of the press. People should be able to work as writers without fear, and people should be able to be heard clearly. Let’s work together to make this happen.

-Kuala Lumpur

( The author is a Editor In Chief at Asia News Today, Asia News Today (ANT) is an online media with experienced journalists and editors that caters news from Malaysia, ASEAN, and the Asian region )
*The article reflects the author’s personal thoughts and does not imply Asia News Today*

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