Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Civil Society and peoples' voices need more media coverage

Mainstream media, usually 'controlled'/owned by the political personalities/parties of the government of the day, gave little space to civil societies, NGOs and ordinary people - and that was why we were happy with the emergence of independent alternative media ...and other alternative media (i.e. those belonging to Opposition Political parties, and/or other individuals/companies) believing that there will be more space for the alternative voices.

Unfortunately, this seems today to be no more true - for many civil society/NGO media statements do not even get a mention in alternative media...Alternative media seem to be distracted in internal political party disputes/fights...and is more inclined to cover only the voices of political personalities (they call 'news-makers')

Maybe, someone will start talking about a "Third Force" alternative media....

Have a look at Harakah (PAS newsletter), SUARA Keadilan (PKR), Rocket (DAP) - and we find that there is not much coverage of civil society/NGO media statements... Why? Could they not at least carry some of these media statements/stories on the online edition of their publications, if not the print version.

What about Malaysiakini - the alternative online media which was initiated by civil society itself. Maybe, Malaysiakini should stop and review its current reporting priorities... There just have been too much time wasted on internal party disputes...and most of this are really personality clashes - not a clash on different issues/policies. Was it a fight between a person wanted Local Council elections to be conducted now in Selangor and one that who did not? Was it about any issue/principle? 

Remember that the method used nowadays is not the de-registering of political parties ...and the arrest and detention using the ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws...

Now, the method is by encouraging and creating splits...that is what was done with HINDRAF, and soon we may see  a similar phenomena happening in PKR - maybe there may be a 'Keadilan Baru'?

Proposal for media:-

1- Cover the voices/expressions of people on various issues, including media statements be civil society groups.

2- If you cannot do by reason of insufficient time and resources, then at the very least, carry the media statements. If not in the print media, at least on the website of the online edition.

3- Remember that the role of the media is not just to report in-fighting, scandals, etc  but to also to educate, evaluate and discuss more serious issues. In the near absence of freedom of assembly/expression in Malaysia, media plays an even more important role of being a channel where the voices of the people will be heard. Free Trade Agreements - maybe good for the investor, but is it really good for Malaysians. Privatized basic amenity providers - is it working or is it better for the state to take over - should we nationalize. Are there no stories about workers....worker struggles. etc? What about stories from the Parliament? State Legislative Assembly? - tell us why MPs/ADUNs are opposing some Bill...why are they supporting it?

Give the 'rakyat' and the people in Malaysia more space...more coverage in your media please...

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