Journalists fear for their livelihood in Malaysia

By Cordoba.Ali

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With 90% of the printed media – which is a sunset industry – under government control, it is not surprising to see Malaysia’s poor ranking in the Reporter’s Without Borders or RSF list of media freedom.

However, this ranking hides a cruel truth that is not spoken of by the RSF.

Most Journalists working for these printed blue chiffons are fearful of losing their job if they do not follow the orders of their editors, who are mostly at the ransom of the Sedition Act, the Official Secrets Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Many are working in this line of work because they love their duty as Journalists, and yet they are not free to tell the story as it is, and this will represent a twist in historical facts in the futureTake for example,

Take for example, the 1MDB issue, which was barred from being published in the print media.

The only newspapers that were harping on the issues and asking the right questions saw their editor’s being harassed, some jailed and freed on conditions that we dare not publish here.

RSF does not really bother about the working situation of the journos, but it said that under Malaysia’s Printing Presses and Publications Act, newspapers must apply to the government each year to renew their operating license.

Which is part of the main reason for the fear the editors’ have in their guts to tell the true story.

“Campaigns led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is still embroiled in the “1MDB” corruption scandal, target journalists and media outlets deemed overly independent and critical of the government.

“In 2016, government blocking forced the Malaysian Insider news website to close, while the authorities continued to harass cartoonist Zunar. Several proposed amendments would reinforce the already draconian Official Secrets Act and Communications and Multimedia Act, but the Sedition Act continues to be the biggest threat to journalists.

“Several proposed amendments would reinforce the already draconian Official Secrets Act and Communications and Multimedia Act, but the Sedition Act continues to be the biggest threat to journalists,” wrote RSF on its ranking of Malaysia in the world press freedom list.

And yet, Malaysia is ranked two slot higher in this year’s ranking.

No reason was given for this but it appears it would be the freedom of social media activists and online portals to attack the government is taken into consideration.

It does not account for the fact that Malaysia has issued a new ruling that will allow the police to arrest Whatsapp group admins for circulation of ‘fake news’, though fake news is not defined in the process.