Media freedom – better under Najib or worse with Pakatan?

Rocky recently posted an article on his wildly popular blog theorising that the media would be in much worse shape if ever the Pakatan Rakyat came to power. As proof of this, he presents the evidence that some PR politicians are suing Utusan for millions and LGE has barred the NST from covering his PCs. Thus, goes Rocky’s reasoning, if they can be so audacioius when they are not in Federal power, how much more so if they are.
Haris Ibrahim recently wrote a rebuttal, which we present here in full. As to which story holds more water, we leave it up to your intelligence and judgement.


Rocky’s take in his post entitled “Will the media be freer after Najib?” that the media would be worse off if Pakatan Rakyat came to power is interesting for the criteria that he appears to adopt.

In that post, he cites three matters that, presumably, were narrated to substantiate his viewpoint just mentioned above and which he categorises as “persecution against selected media”.

Those three matters :

  • the PR Penang state government barring certain newspapers from covering its official events
  • Anwar’s RM100m defamation suit against Utusan
  • DAP’s alleged threat to sue several media, including Utusan, for allegedly defamatory statements

Rocky linked this post to another entitled “The media under Najib” posted at his 84 Jalan Tangsi.

You will see that in this second post, whilst he thrashes Anwar for his meddling with the media during his DPM days, he adds nothing to the three matters already alluded to in his first post to fortify his viewpoint that the media would be worse off if Pakatan Rakyat came to power.

Of Najib and the media, this is what Rocky said :

“The media”scape” under Najib has changed tremendously from the 80s and 90s. When Dr M was PM, there was only the “old” media. When Pak Lah took over, he rejected the “new” media. Najib has to give latitude to both old and new media. I pointed out that there is almost absolute Press Freedom as far as the New Media is concerned, as Najib understands the concept…Najib’s statement a week or so ago to assure us that the Government will not censor the Internet (he was responding to Rais Yatim’s statement that the ministry was considering a filter to check cyber porn) is proof that the PM is going to honor Dr M’s promise to the world that Malaysia would not ever censor the Internet…”

Rocky’s assessment of the media under Najib thus far has to be weighed against the following :

  • on 15th April, this year, Malaysiakini reported that the government’s RTM had blacked out news on the apparent boycott by 10 Terengganu state representatives of the state assembly sitting the day before. The report had it that “respective news desks within TV1 were given verbal instructions not to report the issue”. The next day, Malaysiakini reported that, responding to allegations that the government had directed the blackout, Information Minister Rais denied this allegation whilst retorting, quite foolishly in my view, that “the government has the right to publish any news they wish to highlight”
  • on 18th April, this year, Malaysiakini reported that 4 private television stations had been ordered not to name political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda when reporting the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case. It was reported that the “directive was part of an email sent on behalf of the group director of news and current affairs (television networks) Kamarulzaman Zainal” and that the e-mail listed four ‘don’ts’, including that it was a no-no to report that Najib and Rosmah were linked to the Altantuya murder case or to report statements from those accusing Najib and Rosmah of being involved in the case.
  • in a report dated 3rd May, 2009, Malaysiakini quoted WAMI spokesperson Wong Chin Huat as slamming Najib for the move by the pretender BN Perak government to ban internet media, including Malaysiakini, from covering the infamous state assembly meeting when it convened on May 7th. In fairness, it must be said that that report went on to say that later that evening, pretender Perak Menteri Besar Zambry announced that all restrictions on the press in covering the assembly sitting had been lifted, including the ban on bloggers and online media
  • On 13th July, this year, Malaysiakini reported that ntv7 talk-show host Florence Looi had been issued a warning letter and an immediate transfer to the news desk of the private television station as she was said to have ‘breached editorial policy’ when one of her guests gave Najib a ‘C’ or ‘D’ rating for his first 100 days in office. Malaysiakini quoted a source that Florence was verbally told that she should not have asked her guests to rate Najib’s performance
  • on 6th August, Malaysiakini reported that the government was considering imposing an internet filter to block “undesirable” websites, on the grounds of maintaining racial harmony. The report had it that a “senior official with the National Security Council (NSC) confirmed reports that the coalition government was considering imposing controls…” The report quoted that official as follows : “It is to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments. We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States”. The report also said that this same official confirmed that a tender was out for companies to help the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) evaluate an internet filter. A Malaysiakini report the next day had it that Info Minister Rais confirmed that the government was considering imposing an internet filter to block “undesirable” websites but insisted that this was only to stop access to pornography which was freely available online at present.

Let me just address the last point raised above.

The rationale by the minister is quite laughable as it suggests that the government has only just learnt that porn is easily accessible online.

In a report dated 16th June, 2009, Malaysiakini reported that a “total of 39 mostly pornographic websites have been blocked, especially on government office computers”.

Why, even Dr M, when speaking at the BUM 2009 night on 16th May, this year, cheekily confessed that he had surfed porn sites just “to see how easy it is for a child” to do so. Malaysiakini has this report HERE.

And if I recall correctly, porn was readily available and easily accessible when I started to access the internet in 1997.

Does Rais expect us to understand that the government has only of late discovered porn on the net, and this is the only reason for this belated move to introduce censorship of the internet?


5 Responses to “Media freedom – better under Najib or worse with Pakatan?”
  1. JUSTICE says:


  2. cerita says:

    who cares? our basic human rights already been violated under the umno government, and we are not supporting pakatan because they are proven better, but we have to get rid of something which has been proven again and again, corrupt!
    Rocky, I don’t know how you think about this but please let some better logic be there.

  3. Fearnoone says:

    Better to shut up than making comparison. If you are to let the public further make comparison, the result would be 1000-1. Stop publishing all the lies, we are in the new era and no longer read or believe what were published by the BN controlled media.

  4. jungleboy says:

    I say this again. To start your morning with the best laugh of the day, go to chedet and rocky bru blog.

  5. wajib says:

    Mangkok punya UMNGOK

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