Media freedom among commitments of unity government: Fahmi Fadzil (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Freedom of the media is among the undertakings of the Unity Government in ensuring there is an effective check and balance process of the administration, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil (pix) said.

He said the setting up of the Malaysian Media Council could be one of the means to achieve that goal.

“As the minister, I myself am open to this (establishment of Malaysian Media Council) but of course, it needs the approval of the Cabinet.

“Give it a little time, we will look into it…” he said after attending a briefing during his visit to the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) here today.

Communications and Digital Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek, and members of Bernama’s management, including its chairman, Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi and chief executive officer Roslan Ariffin were also present.

Also in attendance were Bernama deputy editor-in-chief (international news service) Jamaluddin Muhammad, who is also discharging the duties of the editor-in-chief, and its executive editor who is also discharging the duties of deputy editor-in-chief (news services), Harlina Samson.

Fahmi said so far the proposed establishment of the Media Council has yet to be discussed in the Cabinet, and promised updates if there is a decision reached.

On Dec 5, Fahmi said he needed more details from media industry players regarding the proposed establishment of the Media Council, especially journalists’ associations, besides giving an assurance that media freedom and the welfare of media practitioners in the country would be given priority.

The proposal for a Malaysian Media Council was mooted at the inaugural celebration of the National Journalists Day (Hawana) in 2018.

Meanwhile, Fahmi said he would get additional information on Budget 2023 for the Ministry of Communications and Digital which is expected to be tabled at the end of the first quarter of next year.

On his visit to Bernama, Fahmi said he will look into several issues, including those to be raised at next year’s Hawana celebrations.

During his visit, Fahmi was also taken on a tour of Bernama Media’s Digital Division and given a briefing on its operations.

“I am pleased with Bernama’s Media Digital Division which for me may be one of the concepts of the future, not only in digital terms but also on the battle between valid and false information,“ he said. – Bernama

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