Muzzle on Muddled Mess

Do all these developments mean that the sun is setting for the media so that it can wield no influence on the rakyat? Ironically, we all know that the favored media are exempt from such rules.

By Masterwordsmith

There is one prevailing trend that we can see clearly – when things are in a muddled mess, the muzzle is clamped on those who have privy to soap boxes. Such moves can be seen as measures to stifle press freedom and as furtive attempts to force the media’s hand to comply with their requirements and standards.

Recent events have shown that the authorities have their views on what is freedom of expression. As we know, some publications have had difficulties renewing their publications license including Suara Keadilan and DAP’s Rocket.

Apart from that, RTM2 has not renewed producer Tan Ean Nee’s contract. This development has been perceived as part of a plan to phase out all the senior producers of ‘Galeri Mandarin Nasional’ documentary programme. The programme ‘Galeri Mandarin Nasional’ is broadcast on weekdays from 12.20p.m. to 12.30p.m.

On May 13th this year, Malaysiakini reported HERE that producer Chou Z Lam “has been terminated from the TV station, following his damning allegations of political interference over popular current affairs programme ‘Galeri Mandarin Nasional’.”

On August 16th, The Malaysian Insider reported that The Najib administration has started to evaluate the feasibility of putting an Internet filter to block “undesirable websites” two weeks ago, although it backed off from a similar plan a year ago after a public outcry.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had commissioned KPMG to carry out the “Study on Positive and Safe Use of the Internet” in early August to evaluate, among others, “the implementation of Internet Filter at Internet Gateway level” and “the impact of the various methods to Malaysian Internet users and Malaysia economy”.

Yesterday, FMT reported that Popular 98.8 FM DJ Jamaluddin Ibrahim has been asked to go on leave after receiving a letter from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). Jamal said the radio station received a letter from the MCMC which carried a complaint about his programme.

“The letter said that my comments have influenced the security of the country. (It also said) my comments on race relations were not acceptable,” he added.

Today, Malaysiakini reported HERE that the boss and a key producer have been suspended from MCA-owned radio station 988 following the axing of a popular talk show hosted by DJ Jamaluddin Ibrahim yesterday.

The shock move was compounded by the removal of the remaining three DJ’s from the ‘Hi Malaysia’ breakfast programme for which Jamaluddin is famous. The report said that 988 chief executive officer Wong Lai Ngo (left) and senior programme manager Tan Chia Yong were suspended yesterday evening by immediate owner Star RFM Sdn Bhd pending an internal investigation into the axing of Jamaluddin.

The programme is well known for its phone-in sessions which mainly discuss current affairs issues and is popular with the Chinese community.

The radio station’s DJs and invited guests have expressed outrage over the MCMC allegations and claimed that their efforts on air, and that of Jamaluddin’s, were to diffuse ethnic tensions.

Does it mean that the more popular a media or a program, the GREATER the likelihood of it being in the bad books of the authorities? We have seen how tv programmes were taken off the air, series terminated and now radio DJs, producer and boss are now off the air.

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