We had little reason to celebrate the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. Rather, two cases of self-censorship, in deference to the 'sensitivities' of the government of the day, were exposed just days before that: Joshua Wong, an award-winning TV journalist, chose to sacrifice his job and position to stay true to an important journalistic principle - independence from the subjects; and Chow Z Lam, who may find himself out of favour soon for relating how TV2 pulled the plug on his programme.
Self-censorship is an age-old fact in Malaysian newsrooms. While most reporters are helpless to stop it, we the public are not. We must make a clear and united stand that we will not tolerate anymore this state of affairs that is created by the government of the day. We sent them a message on 8 March. We can do it again by signing this memo calling for a stop to political intervention into and self-censorship in the media industry. Initiated by civil society organisations, including the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), it is addressed to the Federal Government, NTV7 and TV2, and a copy will also be sent to the state governments.
The deadline's 28 May.
So, spread the word around to the thousands dissatisfied news consumers out there. We can stop the rot!
It's time for action!