The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ) is a non-profit organisation that aspires for a society that is democratic, just and free where all peoples will enjoy free media and the freedom to express, seek, and impart information.
In response to the 1998 political crisis in Malaysia, a group of five journalists, writers and activists started a project to fill in the demand for critical analysis of the political issues confronting the public. They created a website, saksi.com (“saksi” is Malay for “witness”), which grew to become an important source of analytical and independent information. The strong and positive response to the website prompted the group to register as an organisation to carry out an independent news/content provider project. Thus, the Centre for Independent Journalism was born.
Outcome from the National Consultation on a Malaysian Media Council
The participants at the National Consultation reiterate that any moves to institute a media council are contingent upon the repeal of repressive laws that govern the media, in particular the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, the Sedition Act 1948, sections 233 and 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, along with review of the Official Secrets Act and the implementation of a Freedom of Information Act.
The Malaysian media needs an independent self-regulatory body to uphold standards of journalism, raising levels of professionalism, and provide an avenue for arbitrating public complaints. A media council which is open, accountable and transparent can help to build confidence in the media, contributing to the credibility of news media organisations.
The Centre for Independent Journalism in Malaysia (CIJ) and the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights (MCCHR) launched today, 22 February 2019 a website (http://msiamediacouncil.website/) to “begin discussions again on establishing a National Media Council of Malaysia.”
This is in time for the upcoming National Consultation on 4 to 5 March 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“For too long, the Malaysian media landscape has been dominated by heavy-handed government regulation through the Publication and Printing Presses Act 1984. Civil society and media organizations have since lobbied the government to move towards a model of industry self-regulation, rather than allow the law to be abused for political gain.”
CIJ and MCCHR are also set to launch during the national consultation a study on self-regulation and the Malaysian media.