Friday, February 26, 2016

Why gag and bind TMI?

I do not agree with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's decision to block access to The Malaysian Insider (TMI).

According to Salleh Said Keruak, the decision to block came after TMI published an article which quoted anonymous sources from the MACC's Operations Review Panel.

It is common for media portals to quote unnamed sources. There are cases where the source requests to speak on condition of anonymity.

News portals like Bloomberg, CNN, and BBC have all quoted unnamed sources in their reports.

In cases where articles which quoted anonymous source have broken laws - eg if it was seditious, misrepresented facts etc - a clarification and response should be issued by the affected party.

Most of the time, if not all the time, media portals will carry that clarification and in some extreme cases, the media portals will apologize for the 'error' and for damaging the reputation of the affected party.

I must say that TMI have been fair to readers like me who often send in articles for publication on TMI's site, some of them were clarifying and explaining issues when the Government came under attack by netizens. I appreciate the space and opportunity given by TMI and I made full use of my relationship with TMI, why can't the Government?

The Government and MACC could have chosen a more democratic path. Issue statements to clarify the points in the article, not block access to the news portal.

Also, the Government and MACC have an alternative option which is to take legal action against The Malaysian Insider if they have broken any law. We have sufficient laws in our country to sure that all parties are protected.

Blocking access to The Malaysian Insider is an act against freedom of the press and information.

It is also quite pointless since netizens can easily access the site through proxy sites, or read the articles either on mirror sites or Facebook.

We must seek to engage media portals and journalists, not gag and bind them. We must learn how to work together in this ecosystem, not engage in war with high handed tactics like this.

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