NUJ slams Umno’s media curbs at general assembly

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 – The National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJ) accused Umno today of being two-faced about moderation and press freedom following its ban on some media organisations from covering the party’s general assembly.

A number of reporters from news portals were booted from the media room of the Umno general assembly today for not possessing press passes issued by the party’s secretariat.

“Unfortunately, Umno that is led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak does not hold on to the principles that they espouse and this has been proven by their actions of kicking the Malaysiakini reporters out of the media room of the Umno general assembly,” NUJ Malaysia president Hata Wahari said in a statement today.

 “Umno’s action shows its attitude of not being media-friendly which is not in line with the speech made by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak – who said that the media plays an important role in destroying extremism globally – during the closing of the international forum on The Creation of Global Citizen: Media Liberalisation And the New Political Realities yesterday,” he added.

Yesterday, the prime minister said that the media could help curb extremism around the world by highlighting the voice of the moderate majority.

The NUJ Malaysia head demanded Najib to direct his secretary-general to immediately retract the party’s prohibition on media organisations from covering the party’s general assembly.

“NUJ Malaysia asks the Umno president to take full responsibility in this matter and issue a directive to the Umno secretary-general to quickly withdraw the party’s ban on media organisations from covering the general assembly,” said Hata.

Hata noted that NUJ has received several complaints from a few reporters who claimed that their application for media passes to the Malay ruling party’s general assembly were rejected, despite making their applications through Umno-controlled media organisations.