Merdeka? Without a free media?

Posted on August 31, 2010

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YB Nurul Izzah is reportedly going to apply to the Home Ministry for a permit to publish a Malay daily which is independent called “Utusan Rakyat”.

She’s going to publish this daily, if given a permit, in her personal capacity.

According to a FreeMalaysiaToday report, yesterday,  Nurul submitted a letter of intent to Hishammuddin requesting his assistance  in speeding up her application for a publication permit.

Now she waits.

Just as we wait on any one or more of the Pakatan Rakyat state governments to take the lead in gifting this nation with a free media.

You see, Nurul, you or any other citizen is required by law to obtain a permit from the Home Minister before publishing, printing and distributing any newspaper.

Section 5(1) of the Printing Press & Publications Act, 1984 requires as such.

Civil society has long called for the repeal of this law.

We know BN will not.

Pakatan Rakyat has said it will.

Meanwhile, Utusan and the other dailies in the BN stable continue to feed the rakyat with lies and untruths.

Worst still, the BN-owned mainstream media attempts to sow racial discord amongst the people.

Is there nothing that can be done before Pakatan Rakyat gets to Putrajaya and repeals the PPPA?

Not true.

Pakatan Rakyat, through one of its controlled state governments, could gift the rakyat with a free and independent newspaper.

Section 25 (1) of PPPA reads : “Nothing in this Act shall extend to the publication or making of any documents or periodical by or for the Federal or any State Government or any statutory body”.

Unlike Nurul, you or any other citizen, any one of the Pakatan state governments would not have to wait for Hishamuddin to issue them a permit to publish a daily newspaper to combat the lies of the BN media.

To be  a free media, though, such a state newspaper must not come under the control of the state.

It can be done.

What it requires now is a Mentri Besar and a state exco that truly believes in the value of a free media and has the political will to see this come to fruition now.