The government will examine RSF’s proposal to improve the media freedom index – Fahmi

The government will examine RSF’s proposal to improve the media freedom index – Fahmi

KUALA LUMPUR: According to Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil, the government would carefully consider Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) recommendations about how to improve Malaysia’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index. As the Minister of Communications, he declared that he was pleased that the international non-governmental organization (NGO) was willing to work with Malaysia.

“We may not necessarily accept their suggestions outright, but we will study them thoroughly and see what is suitable for Malaysia,” he said at a press conference after officiating the 2024 International Regulatory Conference (IRC 2024) here today.

The World Press Freedom Index 2024 report released by RSF recently showed Malaysia dropping 34 places from its position at 73 last year, scoring 52.07 points.

Fahmi further commented that he appreciates the report, but it is not the sole gauge in determining the level of media freedom in the country.

Fahmi also stated that the World Press Freedom Index is not only related to the Ministry of Communications alone but also involves laws under several different ministries.

“For example, issues related to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. We know Malaysia’s stance on the issue and the suitability of certain matters within the ASEAN or Eastern values context,” he said.

He also criticized Supreme Council Member of Bersatu Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan’s statement comparing Malaysia’s position with Israel in the index.

“Unlike Israel, we don’t kill people like what happens in Gaza. We also don’t shut down any media outlets like what happened yesterday; Israel shut down and raided Al Jazeera’s office,” he said.

Regarding the issue of using images of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim in the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election campaign, Fahmi said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) have confirmed that it is not part of either party’s campaign.

“The individuals involved have been arrested, so we leave it to the police to conduct an investigation and if there is evidence of wrongdoing, then the Attorney General’s Chambers can bring the case to court. So, we follow that process,” he said.

According to media reports, two individuals who were arrested for displaying images of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on a vehicle during the Kuala Kubu Baharu by-election campaign last Sunday will be charged in court today.

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