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Red Pencil Protest: Media Practitioners Disappointed with the Government’s Actions

SHAH ALAM, 2 Jan: The uprising of media practitioners, who are becoming more vocal in protesting against of the restrictions on new publication, showed positive signs that the media should be free from government control.

Some media agencies have risen up to express disappointment with the Ministry of Home Affair’s (MOHA) action of suspending the weekly newspaper, The Heat, for publishing news on the spending of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

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The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Communications Director, Fahmi Fadzil, said that the media needs genuine reforms so that they can transmit the people’s feedback to the government, especially regarding the suffering of the people in facing the increasingly dire cost of living.

He said that although media practitioners who are independent and more pro-opposition are more likely to criticise, other groups that also disagree with the government’s actions are forced to keep silent.

“We know that there are members of the mainstream media that do not agree with the way the media is constrained, mainly because of the issue of their salaries and work.

“This does not mean that they do not support. We know that many of them support and do not agree with the way the media is constrained, not only by the current administration, but since time immemorial.

“Freedom of the press can only be felt if media practitioners can write what they see without constraints from Putrajaya,” he said when interviewed exclusively by Selangor Kini today.

Due to the suspension of The Heat recently, the Angry Media Movement (GERAMM) will organise an assembly in Kuala Lumpur on 4 January.

The assembly, which has been called the ‘Red Pencil Protest’ asks for participants to break pencils in protest of the series of violations on media organisations, which all this while have been victims of the MOHA.

Fahmi, who is also the former officer to the Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament, Nurul Izzah Anwar, said that the consolidation of social sites and media practitioners, who quickly channel information, also scares the government before deciding to make decisions involving the people.

“Without social networking sites, Putrajaya may not have received such a clear and evident feedback that the people are having difficulty with the increasing cost of living.

“All leaders and administrations cannot have a monologue attitude, but a dialogue. Each day, lots of feedback from other platforms makes it difficult for the government to monitor because technology is too advanced.

“However, the essence is that the government should take heed, the people will speak up. If you do not listen, it will affect the future of the government,” he said.


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