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Malaysia to Review Censorship Laws

Beyondheadlines Staff Reporter

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Tun Razak today questioned the effectiveness of censorship laws in the country. He attributed the changes to the ICT phenomenon, globalisation and higher education level among the people, adding that the Government needed to respond to these changes. The Prime Minister said in this new era, it was questionable whether censorship was effective, meaningful and relevant but also whether it would cause more harm than good.

He cited an example where an article published in the British weekly The Economist on the July 9 Bersih 2.0 illegal rally was censored by the Home Ministry and had brought about negative publicity.

“The very act of censoring it made a bigger story than the article itself. If the international media wants to criticize us, let it be. If we need to, we will engage them, we give our side of the story.

“If they cross the line, then we have to resolve through legal means and (suing for) defamation is one of the means if we feel that we have been wronged by the media,” Najib said.

if the media published a story which was defamatory, legal action should be taken but censoring it was no longer an effective method.

“This is one example in which we have to adjust ourselves in this modern era, where perception is bigger than the truth.

“Therefore, we need to engage in effective communication and take on the right approach to meet changes in today’s landscape,” he said.

Najib said the media had an important responsibility to deliver news and information correctly and in a timely manner, adding that the Government also depended on the media to inform the people of its policies and programs, and engage in effective communication.



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