RSF mocks govt’s claim of better media freedom

Reporters Sans Frontières has mocked the prime minister for making exaggerated claims for his personal role in supposedly loosening the chains around Malaysia’s media. The RSF questioned his claim in an open letter to the PM last Tuesday. (Also that day the journalistic community submitted their petition Don’t Beat Up Journalists to the PM’s Office in protest against violent police attacks on reporters and photographers on April 28).

The media watchdog told the prime minister:

When you took office, you urged to the media to criticize you and you promised more freedom … However, the hopes raised by these promising moves were short-lived. Malaysia’s ranking in the [RSF] press freedom index fell in 2009 and 2010, and its improvement in 2011, which you made a point of mentioning on 19 March, was in fact due more to the sharp decline in the situation in a number of other countries rather than any improvement in yours. » Read the letter


If you missed it, that’s exactly what was said at this blog on March 20, after the prime minister’s speech the previous night at the Foreign Correspondents Club:

Perhaps the prime minister or his advisers took a dim view of being called to account. A week or so later, he repeated his outlandish claim, insisting on pointing to the change in numerical order and ignoring the lives lost and injuries suffered by journalists elsewhere in the neighbourhood.

Their schoolboy line of thinking goes like this: Last time we were 141. Now we are 122. So we have improved. Hooray!

Bollocks. Two deaths in Indonesia, five kidnapped and 18 assaulted — yet the highest public official in this country and his hangers-on make light of it by trying to earn plaudits because other people’s deaths put Malaysia higher up the list.

So, it seems life comes cheaply to the cheap ghouls of Putrajaya and Bukit Aman — that is to say, your lives and limbs come cheaply to them.

All it takes is one photo-call, one handshake, smiles all around, editors happy because they sucked up to power, and the man at the top getting to show he’s a good guy. Dah selesai kan?

Bollocks. Has any officer who gave orders to attack ever been brought to trial? One photo, one handshake, smiles all around, happy cops, happy editors, and everything’s settled? Bollocks.