Thursday, February 25, 2016

Blocking of TMI a blatant show of force, says DAP

The block by Putrajaya on news portal The Malaysian Insider was a blatant show of force to not only shut down news sites that "misbehave", but also to threaten all other news portals into submission and compliance, DAP said today. Its publicity chief Tony Pua said even worse was the fact that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had flouted the very laws it claimed to protect when there have been no charges against the news website. "The Malaysian Insider has stated that it has no knowledge of being investigated for any of its reports, nor has it been sought to assist in clarifying any matters deemed sensitive by the authorities. "This goes to prove the complete disregard for the rule of law by the government," he said in a statement today. Pua said that the last time the media in Malaysia faced such an onslaught was during the dark days of Operasi Lalang when The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Watan was suspended on October 29, 1987. The Petaling Jaya Utara lawmaker said that Putrajaya has become increasingly brazen in abusing its powers by previously blocking whistle-blower websites such as The Sarawak Report and even Medium for publishing The Sarawak Report news.  It previously blocked the electoral reform group Bersih's website and more recently, the anti-establishment Malaysia Chronicle blog, he added. Pua also said that the latest ban on The Malaysian Insider was a clear sign that Putrajaya was upping the ante against any news outlet deemed to provide free and fair coverage of politics and Malaysia. "In a bid to put a lid on a barrel of crawling worms, the Najib administration has taken the most drastic and draconian action to date by blocking Malaysia's most popular English news portal, The Malaysian Insider," he said. Pua reminded the powers that be of the words of United States President Barack Obama, who spoke on the need for media freedom to preserve meaningful democracy during World Press Freedom Day last year. "Obama had said that journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. "That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless, it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable, Obama had said," Pua added. He said the increasingly brute attempts by the Najib administration to tear down the fourth estate will only demonstrate how Malaysia was closer to becoming a banana republic. "The world will now see us in our full naked glory, how Malaysia is run by an utterly corrupt and shameless regime," said Pua, calling for the lifting of the block. – February 26, 2016.]]>

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