December 27, 2013
MY COMMENT: Media freedom is a vital element in a democratic society. Media must be treated with respect and no regime can survive long if it suppresses responsible media.History is littered with episodes of what could happen when a regime suppresses media. Curtailing media has more negatives than benefits, says Andreas Harsono and I agree.
Why is Najib afraid of the HEAT? Well because he is feeling the heat (note the pun) !! Govern properly, keep your promises and act in the national interest and you will be fine. Being Prime Minister is serious responsibility and if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen before you are forced out of office by your own party UMNO, or in GE-14. This is my simple message to the Prime Minister for 2014.–Din Merican
Support The HEAT and Media Freedom
Apart from Malaysians who support media freedom, the campaign to oppose the Home Ministry’s indefinite suspension of The Heat is also gaining traction among writers and activists in neighbouring Indonesia.
Well-known Indonesian author Goenawan Mohamad, a founding member of the Indonesia Journalists Alliance (AJI) Andreas Harsono (left) and popular novelist Ayu Utami have taken part in the third day of the daily tweet campaign condemning the suspension of the news weekly.
“The media can go wrong, but curtailing media has more negatives than benefits. Malaysian people lose the most,” Andreas wrote in his Twitter account @andreasharsono last night.
Andreas has been active in inviting his Indonesian compatriots to support the Angry Media Movement (Geramm), the informal group established to voice out against the suspension.
The three are activists who have championed media freedom during the protests against the regime of former Indonesian president Suharto, back in the 1990s.
Prominent local personalities have also lent their support to The Heat‘s cause, including Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang and former BERSIH co-chaiperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.
“There already are laws on defamation. Why need to suspend newspaper? Only more damage to government image,” Tan said on his Twitter handle @tankengliang.
“There is a good reason why Harakah, Suara Keadilan and Rocket circulations are low. If it’s rubbish, people don’t buy them. Let people judge,” he said. Meanwhile, Ambiga said the suspension of the weekly was also an assault on the people’s fundamental freedoms.
“Suspending The Heat is not only an assault on the press, but an assault on the rakyat and our fundamental freedom,” Ambiga tweeted.
Geramm will be organising a “Free the Media” forum at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at 8.30pm tomorrow (December 27). Attendance is free and all are welcome.
Panellists include Steven Gan (Malaysiakini), V Anbalagan (former secretary-general of the National Union of Journalists), G Vinod (Free Malaysia Today), Masjaliza Hamzah (Centre for Independent Journalism), Hata Wahari (Reporters Without Borders), and Ronasina (an independent publisher).
Veteran journalist Zulkifli Sulong will moderate the session, which will, apart from the suspension of The Heat, also touch on violence and treatment of journalists by political parties and enforcement bodies.
Geramm is also organising a campaign among supporters of the free press to wear red every Friday, in sympathy with The Heat. Its Facebook account has 2,891 followers and its Twitter account, 972 followers.