Support The HEAT and Media Freedom

December 27, 2013

MY COMMENT: Media freedom is a vital element in a democraticdato-din-merican 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 (12-26-13)

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.

Goenawan (right) and Ayu also agreed with Andreas and asked their Indonesiangoenawan-muhammad2 friends to join in the condemnation of the suspension of The Heat.

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.

datuk saifuddin abdullahFormer Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah (left), despite not making a specific reference to the news weekly’s suspension, said: “I support media freedom.”

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.

10 thoughts on “Support The HEAT and Media Freedom

  1. The real stupidity of this issue is that THE HEAT is a weekly PRINT issue in a digital age – all the support really is an expression against the incompetence of handling of the issue. They are persecuting something that is all over the internet which they have no clue what to do..

    Its the same thing with “Allah” – the reason why its just going to get bigger is because ITS INCOMPETENTLY HANDLED. Najib has the problem all wrong – looking at it as placating the extreme right vote which he need Vs. Christians votes he think don’t stack up. Its really about the challenge of the Malay Muslims are concern about he has no answer for. Its simply about his leadership and he just predictably FAILED.

  2. I am all for a democratic media but if reports spill with slander, misrepresentation, distortion and fabrication to hype attention and public outrage, that would be irresponsible media. As Professor Bridget Welsh once expressed, “Too much of the reporting on political events within Malaysia is based on fabrications, rather than analysis anchored in research and responsible journalism. There has been noticeable decay in the professionalism of journalists, either from selling out their principles to engage in partisanship, or through the lack of proper mentorship or training.” I wonder what readers have to say if reports are merely based on brittle research, or none at all? Bridget added, “Readers sometimes take what is published at face value, rather than adopting a more discerning approach to what they are reading. Too much of the discussion of politics is tied to misrepresentation and misunderstanding.”
    Ghazali, welcome. We are talking about responsible media and research-based journalism.Freedom when given to monkeys leads to chaos.–Din Merican

  3. If you can’t take the heat, leave the kitchen, that’s my advice to premier Najib. In the mean time, we should rally to the call by our Malaysian journalists to protect freedom of the press, if we really have such a valid commodity at all. Most reporters and editors in this BolehLand just dance to the tune of their employers, UMNO Baru owned or BN linked companies. It’s high time they step out and claim their right if not to protect their profession.

  4. Without freedom to think, speak, criticise, it is not democracy. Don’t wait until it boils over like in Arab Spring when once again our democracy will be suspended, just because the government wants to remain in power. The elections commission should then be turned into “Re-election Commission” lah. Habis cerita.

  5. Ghazalie,
    This can be remedied once you have a strong rule of law. Look at this youtube link, this will never happen in Malaysia.
    This is an excerpt of the singapore debate on elected presidency. PAP was & is till the so called anchored party in Singapore while UMNO is considered to be a minority in malaya & sabah & non existence in sarawak

  6. The Gerakan Youth chief is proudly proclaiming his ignorance by claiming ,The Rocket, Harakah Daily and the Suara Keadilan are rubbish,because of their low (?) readership ! For crying out loud, these papers are party newsletters and can only be distributed to party members and can’t be sold to the general public !!! He should stick to the MSM’s .

  7. Let’s common people to decide what are a good content and bad content for their respective minds. Government does not know any better than an individual on what is good to the individual’s mind.

    Banning The Heat is a tyrannical act executed by assuming the government, the center of political power, knows everything and decides what is the best for the stupid readers’ minds.

  8. “We are talking about responsible media and research-based journalism.Freedom when given to monkeys leads to chaos” -– Din Merican

    Freedom in the market place is better than censorship. Even if it leads to more monkeys. Then you can educate the monkeys.

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