The sins of Zam in throttling
press freedom when as a former top journalist he should have blazed the path
and expanded space for greater media freedom
RM 10 salary-cut
by Lim Kit Siang
As former top journalist,
Zainuddin Maidin should have blazed the path and expanded space for
greater media freedom. Instead he has done the reverse.
Although the instruments of repressive media control are with the Ministry
of Internal Security, it is Zam as Information Minister who presented the
public face of the Barisan Nasional government of such media control. In
fact, he is the Barisan Nasional ideologue for media control and
Last year, Zainuddin was awarded the Eminent Journalist (Tokoh Wartawan)
in appreciation of his contribution to journalism in the country.
Who gave away the award to him? None other than the Deputy Prime Minister,
Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the Malaysian Press Night 2006 organised by
the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) in November last year.
I do not know how Zainuddin dared to accept the award of Tokoh Wartawan
when he has become the “Predator of the Press” as the government’s chief
hatchet man to suppress press freedom in the country.
In the last few days, there are already several cases of the screws being
tightened to throttle press freedom and the fundamental constitutional
right of freedom of expression of Malaysians.
Only yesterday, top editors of Tamil and Chinese dailies were hauled to a
90-minute meeting in Putrajaya for the latest dose of brain-washing – not
to highlight stories and photographs relating to the Hindraf rally on Nov
25 and on all other matters involving the coalition.
Malaysiakini today, under its report “Ministry clamps down on Hindraf
were basically told not to give prominence to Hindraf,” said an editor,
adding that Tamil-language dailies were specifically mentioned for their
coverage of the rally.
At the same time, the editors were also told not to publish news that
would put the police and the government in a bad light.”
Malaysiakini yesterday reported
that several presenters – including some popular ones – had been punished
for supporting Hindraf.
It is learnt that seven radio DJs of Minnai FM had been punished,
including two presenters working on contract.
This the Malaysiakini report - The severe action was for either taking
part in the Hindraf-organised rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25 or for
giving prominence for the rally and Hindraf on air, added the sources.
Among those sacked or suspended are popular DJs K Meenakumari, K Sillalee
and V Jamuna. The latter was a hugely popular contract presenter.
State-owned Tamil radio station Minnal FM has been urged to lift the
suspension imposed on several presenters over their alleged involvement in
the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) rally.
Media watchdogs Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and the Writers
Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) have called for the lifting of the
suspension as they were concerned that suspected involvement in the rally
had been used as a basis to suspend the presenters.
Their joint statement said: “The action taken against the presenters only
creates the perception that the government is intolerant (of) the
democratic rights of its employees.”
The groups said the suspension indicated that Minnal FM viewed as an
offence, the involvement of its staff in their personal capacity in public
They said: “CIJ and WAMI would like to stress that freedom of assembly is
a right guaranteed under the Federal Constitution and the radio presenters
should not be discriminated against the right due to their professional
relation to the government.”
Then there is the ridiculous case of the song Seloka Cak Kun Cak nyanyian
bersama Tan Sri SM Salim dan M Nasir kena gam kerana terlalu banyak
menyebut perkataan 'bersih'!
Ini kerana lagu tersebut sering diputarkan ke udara tetapi sejak
akhir-akhir ini, ia tidak kedengaran lagi, sehingga menimbulkan persoalan
di kalangan orang ramai.
Pada 10 November lalu, Bersih atau Gabungan Pilihanraya Bersih dan Adil
telah menganjurkan perhimpunan di ibunegara. Bersih ialah gabungan
parti-parti pembangkang dan lebih 60 badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) di
Kira-kira 40,000 orang berhimpun di Istana Negara di mana delegasi Bersih
telah menyerahkan memorandum kepada wakil Yang di-Pertuan Agong, menuntut
supaya diadakan pilihanraya yang bersih dan adil.
Lagu tersebut ciptaan M Nasir, dengan senikatanya ditulis oleh Seth.
Bahagian yang dikatakan tidak senangi itu ialah bahagian korus lagu
tersebut yang berbunyi:
Kulitnya bersih, hatipun bersih
Budi yang baik hatinya pengasih
kulitnya bersih, hatipun bersih
memikul belati tiada yang memilih
Jadikan bersih, hatipun putih
Berkata benar bermulut fasih
Jadikan bersih, hatipun putih
Biarlah khazanah pintu terpilih
Secara keseluruhannya, lagu tersebut menceritakan sejarah kegemilangan
orang Melayu pada suatu ketika dahulu.
Is the government so insecure that it is now so afraid of the word
“bersih” that a clamp has to be imposed on the song, Cak Kun Cak?
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman