I would say that what the government of Malaysia did with regard the Sarawak Report website (whereby access by us in Malaysia to the website have been blocked -Sarawak Report Website Access Blocked? How? Why? Court Order? Government Decision?), and now the Edge is excessive. The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily were suspended for three months from July 27. 350 workers will be affected.
“KDN stated that the two publications' reporting of 1MDB were ‘prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest’,”
One wonders whether any investigation would have been commenced if the facts and/or suspicions were disclosed not publicly through the media but quietly to the relevant authorities. Even when one makes a report to the police, many gets frustrated that nothing happens.
Everyone, not just the media, has the duty to highlight alleged wrongs, wrongdoings, injustices and human rights violations...
Why are the media often referred to as the "fourth branch of government"?
There are three branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial - that make, enforce and interpret laws and public policy. The media tell the people what the three branches of government are doing. Just as the three branches have a system of checks and balances that keeps one branch from wielding too much power, the media are the watchdog of all three branches, and they keep the public informed of the government’s activities – both good and bad. Without the media, people would know little about what our elected officials are doing. - USA Today
Remember that Malaysia is a democracy - not a dictatorship of the ruling coalition, not a dictatorship of one... and as such, transparency and accountability must be there...
Freedom of expression and opinion must also be there ... and remember that the ultimate BOSS is the people - and the people must have access to all information...
If false allegations are being made - all that a good government need to do was to come out and say that it is false, and the people will believe and accept - but alas, in Malaysia trust in the PM and the government is gone or disappearing fast..?
Hence, the only options may be :-
- just to 'cut off all other information sources' [it's really hard to to get printing permits in Malaysia...and even when the Opposition party gets it - comes with the absurd condition that it must be for members only???]
- threats of 'possible suspension', 'cancellation of permits' - this power is the one that keeps many media establishment 'playing safe'... and printing only matters that they feel that the government may be OK with...[The suspension of the Edge publications now, and the past suspension of the 'Star' in 1987 just re-emphasis that these are not merely threats - but the government will do so if the media business step beyond the line...Now for many media groups, it is also a matter of 'business and profits' and also jobs for its employees >> so, the RISK is sufficient to stifle true journalism and suppress the role of being 'check and balance' to government abuses [not just that but now also abuses in private companies and government-linked companies]
- scare ordinary people from even commenting or disseminating alternative news and ideas >> now, the threats that action will be taken to people who do so online as well >>> Effective? Maybe - just look at the various FB groups >> we find a decline of comments, or even the number of 'LIKES' to postings and comments made... FEAR imposed by the government seem to be working...
The Edge weekly, daily suspended for 3 months from July 27
Jul 24, 2015
Condemnation builds over Edge suspension
Critics have questioned how reporting by The Edge publications on the 1MDB scandal could jeapordise public order.
They also lamented how the media group was being punished for highlighting matters of public interest
Below are some of the notable reactions to the suspension.
Saifuddin Abdullah, former Umno supreme council member:
I strongly condemn the three months suspension of The Edge & Financial Daily.
Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, PKR Youth chief:
The government owes Malaysians an explanation just why exactly The Edge’s reporting on the 1MDB issue is 'prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest.
Rather than resort to such draconian methods, the government ought to have fully and comprehensively answered the allegations made.
Ong Kian Ming, DAP Serdang MP:
(Bob) Woodward and (Carl) Bernstein were given the Pulitzer for uncovering the Watergate Scandal. In Malaysia, The Edge is suspended for its 1MDB coverage.
Centre For Independent Journalism:
For the government to muzzle The Edge under these circumstances only leads to more questions on the management of 1MDB.
It is in fact in the public and government's interest for the governance and management of 1MDB to be transparent and accountable.
Media watchdog Geramm:
Since The Edge had denied tampering with the documents and investigations are still ongoing, with no conclusive findings, Geramm believes the Home Ministry had acted in bad faith against The Edge in the suspension.
Geramm maintains that the media should have the ability to investigate matters of public interest that would have otherwise not see the light of day.
Electoral watchdog Bersih:
Solidarity with The Edge. The truth will surely overcome the corrupt.
This ongoing crackdown, first on Sarawak Report and now The Edge, can only lead us to wonder if it is because the allegations of The Wall Street Journal were accurate in claiming RM2.6 billion was transferred into the personal bank account of the prime minister two months before the 2013 general election.
The Edge had further obtained and provided important evidence relating to the scandal to the MACC, police and Bank Negara, all of which comprise the 1MDB special task force.
The action by the Home Ministry against The Edge thus has the obvious effect of undermining the work of the 1MDB task force.
Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin:
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's move does not reflect his patriotism as he should be more interested in protecting national interest, rather than Najib's.
Why is the home minister involved in the matter? The scandal does not affect Malaysians only, but has gone global.
Zahid has failed in his duty as home minister to safeguard the country's and people's interest.
If there was anything wrong with The Edge reports, take them to court, and let the market decide the authenticity or credibility of the reports.
Lawyers for Liberty:
This is a most serious assault on the freedom of the press, a case of suppressing dissenting and critical press as under no circumstances could The Edge’s coverage of the 1MDB scandal could be described as "prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest", as alleged in the suspension order.
The Edge's coverage of the 1MDB scandal was the finest hour of Malaysia's press. It was journalism at its best as they fearlessly investigated and reported on the massive and complex 1MDB scandal, despite the overwhelming odds and threats against them. The Edge should be lauded for their outstanding journalism instead of being persecuted.- Malaysiakini, 24/7/2015