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Zainuddin – don’t be Goebbels
of Malaysia but take inspiration from Samad Idris’ critique of media
censorship in the country to spearhead a campaign to extend the frontiers
of media freedom in Malaysia
Can the country benefit from his courtesy call on Pak Samad. If so, Zainuddin should drop all notions of being the Goebbels of Malaysia and he should take inspiration from Samad’s critique of media censorship in the country to spearhead a campaign to extend the frontiers of media freedom in Malaysia as part of a new National Information Policy which entrenches the fundamental right to information of Malaysians.
I had in recent years likened Zainuddin to Goebbels because of his gross abuse of RTM as an instrument to disseminate unfair, dishonest, unethical, tendentious and malicious propaganda against the Opposition and dissent, such as:
(1) the nightly 90-second political propaganda attacking opposition parties aired during prime time news slots on RTM1 and RTM2 in early 2002 when he was parliamentary secretary; and
(2) the three-part Barisan Nasional propaganda feature “Bahaya Cauvinisme” camouflaged as prime-time news on public television from November 16 to 18, 2002 - a most unfair, dishonest, unethical, tendentious and malicious attack on DAP and Dong Jiao Zong by defaming them with inflammatory and baseless accusations of being extremist and chauvinist and insinuations of being “unpatriotic, anti-national and anti-Malay” when he had been promoted to Deputy Information Minister.
Is Zainuddin planning to out-Goebbels Goebbels to commemorate his further promotion as Information Minister?
Zainuddin should drop all such Goebbels plan, completely alter his mind-set in the way the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants Malaysians to move away from the “First-World Infrastructure, Third-World Mentality”, take inspiration from Samad’s critique of the deplorable media situation in the country to spearhead a democratization and liberalization of media freedom in keeping with an information age.
Nobody is asking for absolute press freedom, a 100% state of press freedom – as every freedom is accompanied by responsibility and trust. There are however vast areas for greater media freedom in Malaysia if we are to have a better informed citizenry to be more prepared for the multi-faceted challenges of globalization.
Is Zainuddin prepared to cut the apron-strings tying RTM news to government propaganda and give them the free rein to operate as independent news organizations?
Is he prepared to set himself the task of introducing a new National Information Policy as his biggest challenge as Information Minister, with the objective of enacting a Freedom of Information Act and the repeal of the Official Secrets Act?
Or is Zainuddin only interested in testing how he could out-Goebbels Goebbels as the propaganda czar of the government-of-the-day?
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission