Perikatan back to denying fair access, says journalists’ group
May 3, 2020
THE media are being denied access to reporting on ministers under Perikatan Nasional, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) said in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day today.
It said it observed that access to certain press conferences was limited to “just a few ‘official media’”.
It cited as one example, a press conference following a special ministerial meeting on the implementation of the movement-control order on April 7, whereby only Bernama and RTM were invited.
“We are seeing a shrinking of spaces for media to report independently due to restricted or denial of access.
“This trend of restricting and allowing access to only government-media agencies creates a situation that one-sided news or perception will be available for the public’s consumption,” CIJ said in a statement today.
Since taking federal power in early March, PN ministers have only granted interviews to government-linked and official media channels and rarely open press conferences to all media.
On the Covid-19 crisis and movement-control order, there is a daily press conference by Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as National Security Council spokesman, but these are also limited to official media.
At present, the only press conference open to all media is the health director-general’s daily briefing on Covid-19.
CIJ also noted that PN is reviving attempts to silence dissent, especially with repeated warnings against online news portals that “misreport” news.
Malaysia currently ranks 101th on the world press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a move up 22 spots from last year’s ranking at 123rd place.
This was attributed to Pakatan Harapan taking over in government in 2018, the first regime change in six decades.
PH was ousted by PN through defections and plotting in the last week of February. – May 3, 2020.