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He is a blue-blooded, thoroughbred Information Minister. Look at the contents of his erstwhile speech:

  • Food, connoisseur of food, reduced food intake and the resultant gluttony, is bandied about to explain one simple matter that information is the right of the people
  • Choice of good and bad food again, in information technology, eat bad food and you have a tummy-ache.
  • Bad food, sorry wrong word, free media does not affect party or government, but I do know it will affect my digestion
  • Sabah blessed with free media, a transformation that took decades, it still won the elections. Here, he failed to mention, West Malaysia lost the elections, because they are in the teething stages of getting free media
  • Openness in information transference leads to cultural shock, basically perhaps the people cannot believe it has happened
  • He is starting classes to educate the people to choose sound and suitable information – something like, what big brother says is correct
  • Broadband extension and bloggers on TV are part of the openness – but sometimes bloggers can be hauled up if they speak the truth and this causes the person or persons concerned to have nightmares – what is important is the nightmare not the news
  • Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is not a hampering factor – it is just another Big Brother is watching you reminder
  • Not all alternative media people can be given accreditation cards to cover Parliament sittings, besides logistical problems, I can also think of digestive problems of the people if sound and suitable information is not reported – there must be a lot of indigestible news spewing forth from Parliament

Everything said and done our Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery gave a memorable and beautiful public speech. It can be book-marked for future reference.

Information dissemination to society cannot be controlled as it is the public’s right to free flow of information, says Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said openness in channelling information is akin to people’s right to enjoy food.
“If you limit their food intake, they can become gluttons. And there is good and bad food, so people have to evaluate and make choices for their own well-being. In the context of current information technology advancement, openness should not be feared as a free media will not necessarily have disastrous effects on a party or ruling government,” he told reporters after delivering a public lecture on “New Challenges in Managing Media and Information in Malaysia”, here today.
“For example, in Sabah, the media is more free but the ruling party still won the majority of seats in the recent general election,” said Ahmad Shabery who also reminded on the need for such openness to be implemented gradually to prevent society from getting a cultural shock.
He said the openness should make the government more responsible and conscientious in convincing the people that they had made the right choice, besides educating them on the importance of choosing sound and suitable information.

Ahmad Shabery said the ministry itself had started to be more open and had invited the alternative media to participate in (RTM’s) interview programmes, while the choice of news was based on the value and not the people behind the news.
He said the openness in channelling information was more evident now with the government expanding the broadband capacity.
“This means that in principle, the government has allowed and facilitated free information flow, whereas in some countries there is a total clamp.
“Don’t be misunderstood that the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is a hampering factor as it is only a small part of the matter,” said Ahmad Shabery who admitted that media control would continue to loosen based on the current trend.
On complaints from the alternative media of their not being able to get media accreditation cards to enable them to cover parliament sittings, he said the matter would be looked into.
“But if everyone (in the alternative media) gets the card, there will be logistic problems,” he added.

The New Straits Times Online……


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