The media is our window to the world. From newspapers to radio and television broadcasts, to even the mobile phones that we hold dearly in our palms, we will be informed of everything that goes on in the world. In the past, traditional media had complete control over the production and dissemination of information. This was also why the state and its capitalist and political cronies have all attempted to control the media so that they could hold on to their reins of power.
The malicious acquisition of Nanyang Press happened 20 years ago today. Nanyang Press was bought over by MCA, and that caused Media Chinese International Limited to have monopoly over the newspaper industry. It became difficult for Malaysian media to play its role as the Fourth Estate, and it also meant that the jobs of all media personnel were put into a precarious situation.
At the same time, the Malaysian media landscape sees the burgeoning of new media and self-media. On one hand, it sees the rise and fall of news sites that struggled with upholding truth and objectivity on this new platform; and on the other hand, the after-work lives of the salaryman are taken over by the addictive, vulgarity-filled self-media that would amuse themselves to death.
Right now, the political reform of Malaysia has been crippled under our current state of emergency. What can the Media Council do to advocate media reform for the next decade? How would the media stand against the intervention of the state and its capitalist and political cronies in order to foster a media ecosystem that is sustainable and of high quality? Could our media personnel survive through this embattled situation?
Reflecting on Malaysia’s Media Freedom: 20 Years After the Malicious Acquisition of Nanyang Press
Forum: Media Council, now or never?
Date: 28 May 2021
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Radzi Razak (Geramm Representative)
Vince Tan Hoo Seh (Lawyer)
Wathshlah Naidu (Executive Director of the CIJ)
Moderator: Soo Hoo Yi Yi (Assistant Secretary at KLSCAH)
Organiser: KLSCAH Youth