Government committed to ensuring press freedom – Saifuddin

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE

PUTRAJAYA – The government has given assurance that it will continue to provide the widest possible access for the media to report news in line with the existing provisions under the Federal Constitution.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (picture) said the Malaysian government is always committed to supporting and upholding freedom of the press.

“The government’s stance is clear and we recognise the important role of media practitioners in carrying out their functions and fulfilling their responsibilities,” he said in a statement today.

He said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) took note of the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders on April 17, where Malaysia ranked 119th.

Saifuddin said efforts to prevent the spread of false information did not mean restricting press freedom.

In the 21st century information technology era, the media not only has the role of disseminating transparent information but also protects the people from the spread of false information that can threaten the stability and harmony of the country, said Saifuddin.

In fact, he said the media in the country had long collaborated with the government and had always been proactive in helping to refute false information.

“As we fight to stop COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world also face the challenge of tackling the spread of false information and ensuring that authentic and accurate news and information are channelled to the people,” he said.

He said the enforcement of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No.2) Ordinance 2021 from March 12, 2021 was specifically to address false information related to COVID-19 and the Emergency Proclamation.