Press Freedom Still Exists In Malaysia, Says Bernama General Manager

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 (Bernama) — Malaysia still practises press freedom but it comes with responsibility, said Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) General Manager Datuk Azman Ujang.

He said Malaysians also had the freedom to voice out through the alternative media if they felt the mainstream media were not capable of presenting their viewpoints as they would like it.

"Through the mainstream and alternative media, Malaysians have the best of both worlds," he said on the "Imbasan 2007" special talk show that was broadcast live on the RTM1 television channel from Angkasapuri here tonight. The programme touched on the major issues that concerned Malaysians this year.

The one-hour programme that began at 9.30pm was also participated by Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) director-general Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin and Yayasan Strategik Sosial executive director Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, and was moderated by Nurazli Noh.

Azman also denied claims that a lack of freedom to voice out issues through the media (mainstream) caused street demonstrations to happen in the country.

He said that the Malaysian media still had credibility was evidenced by the sales mainstream newspapers were doing.

"If it weren't the case, the people will no longer be buying newspapers," he said.

Meanwhile, Mahani said that although information and communication technology enabled people to get information faster now, they need not necessarily be accurate.

"Malaysians are inundated with information, they need to be more discerning in how they process and spread the information received," she said, adding that in a world without borders now, whatever happened in Malaysia would instantly be known in the rest of the world.

As such, Malaysians must think about the impacts their actions can have on the interdependent world we now live in, she said.

Dr Denison said the people should not take advantage of the greater openness practised in the country now.

"Although Malaysians are given the right to express themselves, they must use the right responsibly," he said. — BERNAMA