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I am not in the press line, but what I know even writing this blog or posting, is to ensure that the contents are correct in details and substance. That is known as freedom to write. What Shabery is attempting to say is the government practices partial press freedom, not complete press freedom.

He is a bit tardy to say the findings would be made public, and this matter is irrelevant now, as the findings have been made known. Going by what he says, he is making a mountain out of a mole hill, if the report was to be made public, what harm is there if the recommendation of the committee is made known earlier. National secrets, security and matters relating to the military are not found here.

He is the first government spokesman who had the guts to say how these recommendations came into the hands of the press, through a third party. No amount of intuition by the press people can suffice to make a correct report earlier. Good he never said the press people dreamt about it.

LUMUT: Police investigations into several newspapers for publishing the Royal Commission of Inquiry report on the V.K. Lingam video clip before it was made public is not aimed at curbing press freedom, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said.

“The Government has the right to protect certain classified information before making a public disclosure,” he said.

The matter was a problem of national secrets being leaked out before it was approved for public disclosure, he said Saturday after closing a Lumut Umno convention here, about 90km from Ipoh.

He pointed out that the Commission was set up by the Government and its findings would eventually be made public.

However, he said it would be more proper for the findings to go to the Cabinet first before they were made public.

He cautioned that there could be other government secrets such as matters pertaining to security and military that could have been leaked to the public.

“We don’t know where the leak is. It could be from the journalists who used their investigative intuition or the printers or the officers involved,” he said.

“If there is a leak, how can we ascertain that there would be no future leaks on matters of security?” he added.

On Saturday, DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang had urged the Government to retract its police report against the newspapers, including The Star, because it ran counter to a more open, accountable and transparent society as pledged by the Prime Minister after the March 8 polls.

Earlier this month, Shabery had also announced that press freedom is the trend of the future because it was no longer practical to fully control the media.

Assuring that the media is freer and the days of what can be published or not are becoming fewer, Shabery said:

“We feel that there is a need to manage (information) and the people have to be educated on what is good or bad information.”

He added that he did not foresee the Printing Presses and Publications Act being used against the newspapers to suspend their licences in the case of the commission’s report.

“It would not be like the time when The Star had its licence suspended,” he quipped.

He added that the “danger” would be if the Government talked about press freedom but felt uneasy about it and suspended the licences instead.

“In this case, it does not touch on the question of national security,” he said.

If the Attorney-General felt that there was a need to prosecute the newspapers, those involved would have the opportunity to defend themselves in court, he said.

He added that the process of law allowed all parties to prove their innocence.

‘Police report against dailies not a curb on freedom’

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One Comment

  1. Dear Ahmad Shabery,
    I am sorry you are absolutely wrong to say that “” there is a need to manage (information) and the people have to be educated on what is good or bad information.” For heaven sake do not be so naive to assume the people need to educated to differentiate the difference. People are now more educated and will able to know and analyze what they read. No, we, the common people, need to know the truth and the rational of every conceived plan or action by the government. I would say for everything the government say or do, there are always some hidden agenda which we as Malaysian citizens are not supposed to know. Why? It is just to protect the interest of some parties concerned so that they can squander million of dollars at the expense of the ignorance/not so well informed population.


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