11 July 2024

The new Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has given an assurance that press freedom in the country would be given more space to grow, national news agency Bernama reported.

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah was quoted as saying that Malaysia was now going through a political transition towards a mature democratic country, and the media plays a crucial role in realizing the objective.

He said the government had been more open and willing in embracing press freedom, especially after the 14th general election.

“Journalists do not have to worry about receiving calls from the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) or other ministers.
“In fact, it is okay to hold more debates. Hopefully, no editor will be summoned anymore just because some pictures are ‘not interesting enough’,” he said at the Malaysian Press Night 2018 and presentation of the 2017 Malaysian Press Institute (MPI)-Petronas Journalism Awards in Kuala Lumpur last night.

Press freedom in Malaysian has been placed under many restrictions under successive governments. Prime Minister Mahathir has suggested he would review the anti-fake news law introduced by the Najib government which critics see as a legal tool to silence the opposition and civil society.