RSF’s five steps to better media in Malaysia
- Give Malaysiakini, and others who want it, a licence to publish a newspaper
- Withdraw the home minister’s power to grant and renew newspaper licences; overhaul the Printing Presses and Publications Act
- Stop harassing Zunar
- Respect media independence and stop censorship as carried out by Astro
- Abandon the new Security Offences Act
Malaysiakini must be granted a licence to publish a print version and future requests from other online media seeking to publish print versions must be examined in a fair manner. An editorial position or policy critical of the government must not be used against a media that is seeking a licence.
Minister’s KDN power
The home minister’s discretionary power to grant and renew media licences must be revised. The recent amendments to the 1984 Printing Presses and Publications Act were insufficient in many respects. A complete overhaul is needed to this law, which continues to allow the government to put pressure on media that it regards as overly critical.
The courts must recognize that the cartoonist Zunar has been the victim of physical, psychological, material and financial harassment. The unlawful censorship of his cartoons must stop.
Independent media, censorship
Your government must also give concrete undertakings to respect media independence, ensure that no external influence hampers the work of the media, and prevent any recurrence of censorship of the kind recently seen on Astro TV.
We urge you to abandon the new Security Offences Act. Although this attempt to reform the Internal Security Act, dubbed the “white terror,” is admirable, it is not enough. The Security Offences Act would perpetuate authoritarian practices that run counter to the democratic transition and reforms your government claims to be engaged in.
» Media freedom in Malaysia far from assured — open letter to the prime minister from Reporters Sans Frontiéres