KL, 29 May: I hope I've managed to raise some useful points and done some justice to the 30 mins of Bernama News Channel's precious airtime to discuss the proposed Malaysian Media Council. Felt really rusty (can't remember the last time I appeared on a tv talk show), so am thankful to the skilled navigation skills of my host Elane Nor Abdullah.
Some of the things I said today:
1. The government should just go ahead and repeal the Printing Presses and Publication Act if that's a stumbling block to the formation of the Malaysian Media Council. It doesn't make sense to hang on to archaic law when the government has even abolished the ISA, that mother of all draconian laws. Many journalists were detained without trial. The longest detention record belongs to a journalist and journalism laureate A. Samad Ismail was detained thrice under the ISA - by British, Singaporean and Malaysian governments.2. A journalist should lead the Malaysian Media Council. The Malaysian Press Institute is led by a journalist. The National Press Club, which celebrates its 71st anniversary next month, has always led by a journalist. Can you imagine the National Union of Journalists NOT being led by a journalist but by, er, their lawyer?3. The BIG media - The Star, Media Prime, the Edge, etc - must be committed to the setting up of the Media Council. They are going to finance the operations. [I have no issue with some funding coming from the Government and the Corporate sector. The Council doesn't have to feel obligated receiving their money, consider it as their commitment to uphold press freedom].4. Include the major players from the industry. Including the NPC, whose views have not been consulted (except by Bernama).