Sunday, May 06, 2007

Out with outdated Press laws!

Top mainstream media editor wants more. Veteran journalist Wong Chun Wai has called on the government to do away with "archaic" laws that are stifling Press freedom in Malaysia. The Star's editor is unhappy with Malaysia's poor rankings in a Freedom House survey on nearly 200 countries (Malaysia is ranked 150th). He also noted that bloggers are becoming more credible as a source of news.

"Many have raised pertinent issues and asked good questions, which make us think harder. Many former journalists-turned-bloggers have proven that they still have the network of contacts to help them break news."

But a seasoned editor knows how and when to cover his behind:

"Still, it cannot be denied that under the Abdullah Administration, the Prime Minister has allowed greater democratic space and tolerance for dissent. It is thus unfortunate that some bloggers have made heroes of political players who had suppressed the media when they were in power. Many of these figures lack the credibility to talk about press freedom and when they do so, they smack of hypocrisy. Some are turning to the new media and have complained about media blackout when they, too, had used the same tactics to shut out their opponents. Many bloggers, unfortunately, are much too young to realise this or they have chosen to look the other way for political expediency. Some bloggers write about press freedom and yet display blatant intolerance of others who don’t share their political views. "

I disagree with Wong on one point, at least. I was there, too, and I will deny that under the Abdullah Administration, the Prime Minister has allowed greater democratic space and tolerance for dissent. And I wonder who Wong is referring to when he writes about "political players who had suppressed the media when they were in power"? Dr Mahathir Mohamad?

Whatever, now that I know his views on these issues, I look forward to the roundtable forum on Press freedom on TV2 scheduled for middle this month featuring both of us, among others. In the meantime, do read Wong's Do Away With Archaic Laws.


  1. Anonymous9:37 pm

    Wong Chun Wai is a fake. He is the last person to comment about press freedom and blogs. Stop bullshitting, Wong. Dont make a fool of yourself. You are just a puppet of the Star. Stop it, Wong. Dont make me puke. I have had enough of your bullshit.

  2. Anonymous9:59 pm


    mr wong was referring to dr mahathir, of course.
    now, if the star editors were "scared" that's their problem. you didnt care about the powers-that-be. you pushed the parameters. so what's their problem with dr mahathir.
    you are the editor, mr wong. it is up to you to NOT listen to the instructions. And pay the price. Most editors have no balls, under Dr Mahathir or under Pak Lah. They are SCARED to pay the price, if there is a price at all to pay. you mean, the 4th floor boys HAVE not called you? who are you kidding, mr wong?

    u sure know how to jaga pungkok. uncalled for, mr wong. uncalled for.

  3. Anonymous10:51 pm

    perception is the word. he was perceived to be clean, religious, fair and tolerant. sorry, as far as i see it, he is none of the above. yup, he is the current PM

  4. Anonymous10:57 pm

    Dear Bro,
    What is there to expect of doing away with press laws when the Information Minister, a former journalist himself, has called for bloggers to be classified as professionals and non-professionals. Yes, in a way he has FINALLY acknowledged the impact of bloggers but wants them to be registered. Quote: "This classification will also facilitate any action to be taken against those found to have violated the country's laws," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
    If only the minister could accept the growing trend of blogging as a new media which is becoming a way of life, he would understand why the traditional media is losing audience as news providers. The inverted pyramid technique of editing first before printing is being challenged by blogs -- print first and edit as you go along getting comments.
    Curbing bloggers by trying to differentiate them as professionals and non-professionals may not be wise. As it is, even those wanting to become journalists in the mainstream media organisations need not sit for exams to qualify them as professionals like doctors and lawyers.

  5. Bro Rocky,

    Wong is dancing to the current Kepala Batas Ghazal Party tune orchestrated by PM Abdullah Ahmad. Previously he danced to the tune of Ayam Didik, a popular folk tune of Kedah. You and I should know better the role of the so called main-stream editors in this country. It is the question of protecing one's rice bowl. Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. Anonymous11:38 pm

    The Double Datuk is playing to the gallery laa. But I must say, pleasing everyone is not possible.
    U can't blow everyone and not look like a slut.

  7. Anonymous11:58 pm

    Wong Chun Wai has been pontificating about press freedom and what not. Must we put up with this nonsense from a hypocrite. Rocky, it's time to out him, expose him. He is just a paid agent of the Star and of course, NST. He plays a double game.

  8. Dear Rocky!

    Chun Wai is right! If he was referring to Tun Dr Mahahtir that is. Well Tun was a "benevolent despot", while creating this country in his own image building massive administrative centre and tall buildings, and contrary to popular belief the ex-PM was also a despot, destroyed UMNO by declaring it illegal! Ask Ali, Mutu, and Ah Chong say 50 years from now which is the oldest political party in the country, the answer will not be UMNO, the answer will be MCA and MIC, because the present new UMNO was registered sometime in the late 80s! His time as PM saw many oppression, of the Press, of dissent, and you should know Rocky! When I tried to write about ISIS the editor stopped me, and up till now I do not know why ISIS was a sensitive subject, then I found out that Dr Mahathir might not want ISIS to be written about. I tried to write about Shamsiah Fakeh the "communist", the story was blocked buy a senior editor. My stint with Time Magazine here as a reporter, I was called by Dtk Zakaria Wahab over a story on Tun Mahathir, when the story was not all that bad actually! I have been observing and I notice that Tun Mahathir was not happy for not being widely reported by the mainstream media! Well! What does he expects actually. As I said apart form being a productive PM, Tun Mahathir is also very bad at judging character so he should live with that and not complain so much!
    As for Wong Chun Wai I have read his column and I dont think it is all that bad for most of the thing that he said was true, although under the current PM freedom of press is healthy? Well, I have to disagree, otherwise why are Malaysian resorting to Bloggers for hard facts!

  9. Anonymous12:28 am

    Wong Chun Wai, your doublespeak does not make any difference to us bloggers. We will continue to struggle against lies, plagiarism, doublespeak, hypocrisy, idiocy, stupidity. We will never back up. We will fight against the likes of you and your ilk. You will never rest in peace until we have achieved final victory. And in the words of Dr Josef Goebbels, Victory is At Hand.

  10. Anonymous1:15 am

    Wong Chun Wai (ops, sorry forgot the Datuk - please forgive me)is just another balless mercenary, who is in the Star not for journalism but to make his monies and rubbing shoulders with the power that be.

    Of course, Wong Chun Wai must have received endless calls from the 4th Floor boys and Kalimullah to write what are politically correct stories. Wong Chun Wai is no different to Joceline Tan and Carolyn Hong both of whom will write to praise Khairy to such an extend that we, Malayusians are fools.

    Anyway Wong Chun Wai's articles also shows that the pwoer that be are very scared about what appeared in the blogs.

    My advice to WOng CHun Wai, Jcelien Tan and Carolyn Hong just concentrate on writing good articles about Khairy aned Kalimullah and we, Malaysians will believe you all.

  11. Anonymous2:02 am

    I agree Pasquale, Tun Mahathir did more damage. Maybe some old journalist forgot it because they had a good time then. Many of them especially from NST didnt believe in working, after all life was good. I was a NST staff then. When Star took over NST's leadership, no one was bothered, business was as usual. Now all these boys are out of favour and they complain about the new people who are not any better. But at least our old boys should remember the old days. Just because you are out of favour that doesnt mean there was press freedom during Tun Dr Mahathir's time. That will be a joke.

  12. I would have to agree with this statement: Some bloggers write about press freedom and yet display blatant intolerance of others who don’t share their political views. Except that bloggers should be replaced with commentators/fanboys.

    Still, Wong Chun Wai has a point, even if he is playing it safe by being nice to his boss.

  13. Anonymous6:32 am

    nstman - FIGHT YES; FINAL VICTORY NEVER! Hey man - this is life lah not death!
    And in life there is birth; there is always a new person, a new idea, a new ideal, a new cause to fight for.
    Even if the cause is a million years old (like freedom of the press)there will always be a fresh perspective, a creative way of looking at it.
    There will be heroes who seem invincible but only for a moment - until they are vanquished.
    Invincibililty lies in the human mind and spirit!

  14. I thought Wong Chun Wai's column was fairly frank and honest, within the constraints of the mainstream media. They can't always write they believe, there's the KDN publication permit always hanging over the newspaper's head.

    As for the comparison between the current and past regimes, he has to "ampu bodek" his present political masters, lah.

  15. Bro, please keep us posted on the date for the forum. And yes, we should do away with 'archaic' laws which had its origin during the communist insurgency of Malaya and which we have been following blindly all these years. I am specifically referring to the P,P and P Act. Others laws in this category would be ISA and OSA. If the PM wants a feather to his cap for a free press, then he is the one to do it ! If not, we have to wait for DPM to become PM to do it.

  16. Hiya, friends, in that type of position, CYA is the best position to take. Later on like Sulong and BP, can get whooping contract as PR of Nusa Jaya, mah.Elementary, dear Watson.

  17. Anonymous9:37 am


    So what are you being ungrateful and bitching about? From your own account, you said you DID write something critical of the Tun when he was PM. You were told off after the fact, so you were free to put the Tun in bad light after all!

    And this Zakaria, what if it was just his own views? Have you ever asked Tun.about it? No, right? Because, Pasquale, you never tried testing the limits. You were just wallowing in sorrow. Like you said, your piece was not even half hard-hitting on the old man.

  18. Guys,

    If you are in Mr Wong's position, how would you write? It is threading the fine thin line, isn't it? Unlike writing in the Web or Internet, we can lambaste all we want and get away with without facing our boss(es), I think all MSM journalist face the same or similar contraints. Hey, I think they are on our side too but they must earn a living in their workplace. Like kittykat46 said, I think given their constraints, he has written in fair manner. Ouch! (Did I touch some nerves here?).

    To me, I find the portion that may be an affront to bloggers is the part about Pak Lah allowing more democratic space and tolerance for dissent. That is a debatable and I look forward to Rocky's roundtable forum with Mr Wong, among others I believe, middle of this month on TV2.

    Rocky, can you please post a reminder way before the show? We bloggers may not live too long as we spend many hours on our laptops/PCs. Don't be like the girl who collapsed and died after spending eight hours on her laptop. See:

    Be like BigDog who visited his old school, Nuraina who threw a party for her kids, Black who visited the Phillipines, Clemfour who went into a hiatus, Zorro with his 'spiritual' trips (heh..), Shar101 whom I read croons and many others. Life is short, man.

    Take care of our health. By all means blog but let's smell the roses along the way too.

  19. Anonymous10:27 am

    I admired TDM but today and tomorrow PM is AAB. Arguing whose tenure has more press freedom is pointless because in both tenures, press freedom has only changed marginally. WCW article on Sunday Star is a step towards better freedom in expression. We should support that effort and put all differences aside; whether it is a genuine effort or hypocritical, the message for more freedom of expression is preached. I salute him...and Rocky..and Jeff...and Aisehman and Susan and Marina and Jun-E and....etc,etc,etc,...and last but not least Monsterball. Cheer. v9

  20. Anonymous11:37 am

    I agree with nstman on comments made.

    Secondly, a lapdog will always be sitting on the lap of the master. That's why it's called a lapdog as it will never dare to sit on the head of the master.

    A patting on the head and some free trips from the master are sufficient for any lapdogs. Well trained, disciplined and always toeing the line that makes them effective and efficient in the eyes of the master. Don't expect lapdogs to do wonders!

  21. Assalamualaikum bro:

    Rencana Chun Wai memang menjelikkan - kita tahu zaman siapa kebebasan media paling baik dan zaman siapa paling buruk.

    Tak perlu kita pertikaikan - semua wartawan dan bekas wartawan mengetahuinya - dan kita tahu bahawa Ketua Pengarang kini semua tak mempunyai keberanian seperti A. Kadir Jasin, Johan Jaafar dan lain-lain dalam menjuarai kebebasan media.

  22. Anonymous11:23 pm

    Wong Chun Wai, for the last time I am warning you. You have been playing a double game for too long. Your doublespeak has fooled countless people, but you are beginning to be shown up. Stop your hectoring, you double agent. You have benefited from star, politically and financially. We have had enough of you. Rocky and you may be good friends (that's what I gather from friends) but the majority of the people know who you are. By the way, Chun Wai, you cant write to save your own neck. If you want to learn English, learn from me. Truth must out.

  23. Anonymous9:35 pm

    WCW supports whomever is in power who can guarantee his bread/rice bowl & advance his "journalistic" career. When Dr.M was PM, he together with the bigwigs in Jalan Riong & Utusan were kaki ampu & brown nosers to him. Any enemies of Dr.M both local & foreign had the "Media Alsatians" set upon them.

    I doubt his sincerity towards press freedom in M'sia. But you hafta agree its amusing to see former political animals and their capos complain about press freedom (or absence of) and "impending police states", when they were once busy doing hatchet jobs on dissenters through the controlled media and ISA-ing people here and there.

    He just changed his dance moves when Badawi took over. Other editors weren't so sly and started complaining about exactly the same things they did years ago.

  24. Anonymous2:33 pm

    is it ethical to make character assessments on the internet?