... And how they could have made it happen. You may have read it at 3540 Jalan Sudin, how the journalists and editors* shot down Rais Yatim-Hishammuddin Hussein's attempt at giving birth to a Media Consultative Council and dealt the Information Ministry's sec-gen, Kamaruddin Siarap, a massive humiliation.
None of the journalists supported the idea and said so, except for Bujai, who claimed to have gate-crashed the meeting, who thinks it is a GOOD IDEA!! Bujai did not speak up during the meeting, though, according to those who did (no, I was not there).
The Council would have been a good idea if its main objective was for the government to consult the jounalists and other interested parties on which archaic Press laws should be abolished immediately and, in the longer run, which laws ought to be amended with a view of allowing greater freedom of the Press/Media.
Malaysia's international ranking re media freedom is surprisingly low, given that we have one of the free-est cyberspace/internet in the whole wide world. How can we correct this misconception? The Consultative Council can help find answers.
As the Council is meant to be consultative, it should be jointly chaired by the government and the media. I would suggest a former minister instead of a serving minister (who might be tempted or perceived as trying to gain control of the media through the Council). Tun Khalil Yakcob? The chairman from the media must be a respected former editor. Mazlan Nordin, PC Shivadas, Munir Majid?
Everything else would have fallen into place nicely if they had the basics right. But they didn't really consult US before they called for yesterday's meeting, did they?
* The National Press Club was not invited. The Blog House Malaysia was reprsented by its president Syed Akbar Ali, who also rejected the idea