IFJ Welcomes Move to Establish Media Council in Malaysia

 

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the announcement by its affiliate the National Union

of Journalists of Malaysia (NUJM) of

an action plan to form an independent media council in Malaysia.

 

At a meeting held in Kuala Lumpur on April 8 organised by the NUJM and the Global Forum for Media Development

(GFMD), working journalists, union leaders, civil society activists and members

of press councils in India, Indonesia and Australia

discussed potential self-regulation mechanisms for Malaysia’s media. An action plan

calling upon the NUJM to play a

leading role in establishing a media council was unanimously endorsed by the

meeting.

 

 “An independent media council will act as a

platform for redressing the widespread public distrust in the mainstream media

in Malaysia,

which is constrained by punitive legislation and highly politicised ownership

and licensing regulations,” NUJM

General Secretary Anbalagan Veerasamy

said.

 

“The NUJM

will engage with all stakeholders, including the government and political

parties who own the major newspapers, to encourage ethical journalism and find

a mechanism to address complaints about media coverage in Malaysia.

 

“It will also lead public

discourse on achieving true press freedom in the country by advocating for the

repeal of laws that are used to constrain free speech and political debate.”

 

A steering committee will be

formed by the NUJM executive immediately

to oversee the process, and will begin a public consultation and awareness

raising process on the role of an independent media council. The media council

will also encourage the participation of journalists and proprietors from Malaysia’s

burgeoning online media sector, which has largely escaped the restrictive laws

that affect print and broadcast media.

 

“The IFJ is encouraged by the NUJM’s decision to take the initiative and lead this

debate on press freedom in Malaysia,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.

 

“The experience of our colleagues

internationally shows that journalists’ unions and associations are best

positioned to be at the forefront of debates over journalists’ ethics,

self-regulation and press freedom, regardless of the eventual structure of a

media council.”

 

Eminent members of councils from India, Indonesia

and Australia

at the meeting outlined the different models applied in their particular political

contexts and emphasised that promoting ethics and accountability is best served

by an inclusive and representative industry organisation.

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents 600,000

journalists in 125 countries

 

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the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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