The Malaysian government plans to give opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s political party a permit to start its own newspaper as part of reforms to allow more press freedom, according to news reports yesterday.
The Star daily quoted Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar as saying there was no reason the People’s Justice Party should not have its own newspaper when other political parties do.
“I’ve just approved the [People’s Justice Party] newspaper and I asked my officers ‘why not.’ I am open about it,” he was quoted as saying.
Syed Hamid’s office was closed for the weekend and could not be reached to confirm the report. Anwar’s party spokesman also could not immediately be reached for comment.
Media organizations in Malaysia can operate only with a government license, which needs to be renewed every year. This has resulted in self-censorship by editors who want to avoid the possibility of their license not being renewed.
“I want to change that paradigm,” Syed Hamid was quoted as saying. “We are not trying to control you, but we want everyone to contribute to the nation-building process.”
He said he was toying with the idea of doing away with annual licensing and switching to licenses that only need to be issued once.
“For me the bottom line is that we need press freedom in order for us to have a check and balance in government,” Syed Hamid was quoted as saying.
The announcement came days after the government suspended the license of a Tamil-language newspaper, which catered to some of Malaysia’s ethnic Indians, accusing it of fomenting racial tensions.
The crackdown against the Makkal Osai, or People’s Voice, was slammed by critics as a blow to press freedom in the country. Syed Hamid, however, defended the move, saying the newspaper had breached the government’s media guidelines.
Those guidelines include keeping silent on issues that can stir racial tensions in the country, a multiethnic nation comprising majority Malay Muslims and minority Chinese and Indians.
WIDE REOPENING DISCOURAGED: A study from Peking University has suggested that lifting restrictions in the style of the US, UK and others would be catastrophic China would face a “colossal outbreak” on a scale beyond anything any other country has yet seen if it were to reopen in a similar manner to the US. That is a prediction based on statistical modeling by researchers at Beijing’s Peking University. A switch from China’s current COVID-19 elimination strategy to a US-style approach with few restrictions would lead to as many as 637,155 infections per day, according to the study, which was published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. That would be the largest daily figure reported by any country since the start of the
UNCERTAINTY: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not specify measures NATO might take, but many believe that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project could be canceled The US has said it has evidence that Russia has made plans for a “large scale” attack on Ukraine and said NATO allies are “prepared to impose severe costs” on Moscow if it attempts an invasion. Speaking at a NATO ministers meeting in Latvia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it was unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a decision to invade, but added: “He’s putting in place the capacity to do so in short order, should he so decide.” “So despite uncertainty about intention and timing, we must prepare for all contingencies while working to see to
NOT ELIGIBLE: Most of those charged over democracy protests were born after the UK handed Hong Kong back to China, figures form Hong Kong Watch showed More than 90 percent of people who have faced protest charges in Hong Kong are too young to access a UK visa scheme dedicated to helping Hong Kongers flee to the UK, say advocates and lawmakers calling for new laws to assist them. The release of the figures on Sunday by advocacy group Hong Kong Watch comes before a British parliamentary debate this week on proposed migration law amendments that would widen the pathway for people with British National Overseas (BNO) status to resettle in the UK. More than 10,000 people were arrested during or after the mass protests that swept Hong
An episode of The Simpsons in which the cartoon family from the US visit Tiananmen Square has been removed from Disney’s streaming channel in Hong Kong at a time when authorities are clamping down on dissent. The missing episode adds to concerns that Chinese-style censorship is becoming the norm in the territory, ensnaring global streaming giants and other major tech companies. Disney+ has made rapid advances since it was launched 18 months ago, reaching more than 116 million worldwide subscribers. The Hong Kong version started streaming earlier this month and eagle-eyed customers soon noticed that an episode of The Simpsons featuring China was