Tuesday, December 15, 2020

FEAR makes media fail its duties and/or be seen as anti-Human Rights and even Democracy?

Media is important for human rights and justice - it has the capacity of bringing forth or highlighting struggles and issues of human rights and justice of the PEOPLE, so that it can receive the attention of all in Malaysia...it can highlight opinions and viewpoints of different people and human rights defenders..

But alas, the Malaysian media generally FAILS - as it continues to just highlight and/or report on what politicians, police and government authorities say - and even corporation and business interest. 

What about the people, communities, workers and trade unions, NGOs, civil society groups and human rights defenders - even when many of these take the trouble of informing the media...and even coming out with statements and media statements...many Media simply do not cover their stories or concerns ...and the NEGATIVE impact would be the 'silencing' of alternative voices and opinions - for after all efforts put in, media(and even alternative media) does not help share these views to the general public...so, then more and more will stop 'speaking up'...will stop issuing statements...

Analysis of the media today - we see that if it is not what the government says(or the government agencies including the police), the other group that gets media coverage are politicians (usually Opposition party leaders) - hence, the danger is that Malaysian media(including alternative media) may be turning out to become 'government media' or 'political party media' and the other people or groups are simply sidelined.

The government has its own media - and we know them. Many Opposition parties also have their own 'media' ...

What kind of journalism? What happened to investigative journalism ...well, that seems to be lacking in Malaysia. If one looks back, the whole 1MDB and kleptocracy issues were  HIGHLIGHTED not by Malaysian media - but some foreign media. Even the issues of 'forced labour' and poor worker accomodation was highlighted by media in UK and US - when one have expected this to be highlighted by the Malaysian media (if not the mainstream but at least the alternative media)

Now, MEDIA - they have the capacity to highlight other persons views through sections called 'Letters To the Editor', Viewpoints, Opinions, etc - where everyone knows that the media agency is just sharing some view, which the media does not take a stand. In this ICT age, with online media, space is no more a problem compared to print media, and as such many statements of others could be carried...IMPORTANT because we need to develop a culture that Malaysians start speaking up and expressing themselves more and more..

Is MALAYSIAN MEDIA now a hurdle to free speech, expression and opinion? Is Media now inadvertently suppressing human rights defenders? Is Media today pro-government pro-corporation - and the ordinary people has no way to speak up to even our fellow Malaysians? 

Besides Covid, people are getting fed-up with what Anwar or the internal conflicts in political parties. They want their MPs and people representatives to speak up for peoples' issues and concerns - but all we are hearing are about 'backdoor government', power struggle to be next Prime Minister or government, parties' internal problems - what about the peoples' issues? LYNAS? Deforestation? Covid-19 'kleptocracy'? Worker rights? Community struggles against development plans ...and, if we read our media, many may get the wrong impression that Malaysians have no other problems/issues/concerns save for what the government or opposition politicians say - That is certainly not true. 

Media is the sword arm of democracy. Media acts as watchdog to protect public interest against malpractice and create public awareness. Today when politicians are taking full advantage of their positions, an evil nexus of mafia and crime syndicate is making the life of the common man miserable, taxpayer’s money is siphoned out for the personal gain of the influential and ordinary people are a most spectator media has a grater responsibility...As the fourth pillar of democracy along with judiciary, executive and legislature, media of today has an all embracing role to act against the injustice, oppression, misdeeds and partiality of our society. 

During Operation Lallang, we saw the government shutting down 3 newspapers - we also media being 'forced' to shut down like what happened to Malaysian Insider...then, there have been a lot of defamation suits by Corporations and even politicians against media ....MAYBE, all this has resulted in the 'play safe' media we have today, who have unconsciously abandoned the duties and responsibilities in a democracy - Has business and personal financial concerns overshadowed the real role and function of media and journalist?

One of the media fear is concern of being sued - 

Human Rights Day(10th December) – Respect and Promote Human Rights including Democratic Rights


Some journalist and several media agents have found themselves in the past victims of SLAPP lawsuits by corporations and others, and the consequence is detrimental to human rights, human rights defenders, especially the poor and/or those with limited financial resources.

Voices of the ordinary and/or community human rights defenders now is not highlighted or published media’s fear and reluctance is possibly for fear of SLAPP law suits by corporations, the rich and others.

For the sake of human rights, journalists and media must once again be brave and willing to provide space and highlight the voices of human rights defenders, not just politicians and celebrities. Media should also without fear and favour uphold the cause of human rights and justice.





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