21 September 2011
Civil Society Joint Press Statement
Debate with Mat Sabu, not prosecute him!
We, the undersigned civil society organisations,collectively register our utter disgust over the prosecution of PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu under Section 505 of the Penal Code with uttering statements tantamount to public mischief. He was even briefly arrested last night.
Charging Sabu goes against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s pledge to promote openness and democracy on Malaysia Day.
It raises questions over the sincerity of PM Najib in announcing a series of reforms including amendment of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), whether he has full control on the police or both.
We urge the government to immediately drop the politically-motivated charge of Sabu and stop intimidating dissidents who oppose and challenge official history and ideology.
Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) strongly condemn the government for deliberately disapproving or delaying the renewal of publication permits for three opposition parties’ organs, namely Suara Keadilan, Harakah and The Rocket. To date, only Harakah’s permit is renewed.
WAMI holds that in democracy where citizens are free to choose their reading materials, party organs with narrow appeals cannot be sold beyond the circle of party loyalists even if they want to.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s assertion that the party organs must stick to the ministry’s guideline and restricting their sales to party members therefore only suggests that these party organs are actually popular beyond their membership.
And why would non-members spend their hard-earned money to buy overtly partisan views? The answer is simple: all mainstream media are now strictly controlled by the government through censorship and ownership made possible by restrictive laws like the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).
维护媒体独立撰稿人联盟强烈谴责政府故意不批准，抑或拖延批准三份反对党党报 — 《公正之声》、《哈拉卡》和《火箭报》。至今，仅有《哈拉卡》的出版准证获得更新。
黃國富 (刊登於台灣東南亞學刊，5 卷2 期，2008 年，頁89－118)
馬來西亞的威權體制與族群政治環境中，媒體一直受到許多限制，近年由民間組成的媒體改革團體要有所作為，除需衝撞體制，也要面 對糾結的族群問題，而這涉及了族群內部與不同族群間的各種因素，使媒改問題更形複雜。本文以「撰稿人聯盟」的實踐為例，試圖說明這個由華人所組成的媒改團 體，其出現與實踐過程，相當具體地展現了這樣的困境。本文認為要突破這困境，除要打破族群政治的框限，橫向連結其他公民團體，壯大改革力量，也需深耕言論 自由與新聞自由的理念，號召更多民眾加入媒改行列，共同改善媒體環境，協助馬來西亞邁向民主化。
點擊 4.pp89-118TJSEAS5_2_. 下載完整論文。
Joint Press Statement by CIJ & WAMI
29 June 2010
Lift ban on cartoons, repeal PPPA
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) condemn the Ministry of Home Affair’s banning of “1Funny Malaysia”, “Perak Darul Kartun” dan “Isu Dalam Kartun”, all cartoon compilations by Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar.
According to online daily “Malaysiakini”, whose subsidiary Kinibooks is the publisher of “1Funny Malaysia”, the Ministry’s secretary-general Mahmood Adam justified the ban thus: “All three publications have been banned for…contents that can influence the
people to revolt against the leaders and government policies. The contents are not suitable and [are] detrimental to public order.” The report did not state when the ban was imposed, merely quoting the official as saying so on 24 June.
CIJ and WAMI hold that no books should be banned to prevent the circulation of ideas, and that the people should be free to seek and receive them. However, we are particularly appalled by the rationale for the ban, which revealed flagrant partisanship of the civil service toward the government of the day. The civil service, by name and mandate, is supposed to be above politics and serve the public, which includes protecting the people’s right to express what they think of the elected government. The Ministry is being nonsensical to link criticism of the ruling government with public disorder, when the
former is a hallmark of a functioning democracy.
The Ministry also resorted to the undemocratic measure of confiscating the books for “study” in January this year and August last year, a move which has intimidated retailers from selling them.
We call for an immediate lift of the ban and the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act under which the ban is being imposed. Once again, the law is being abused by the state as a political tool for hegemonic purposes rather than to maintain social order.
Yip Wai Fong
Communication and Publications Officer, CIJ
Wong Chin Huat