Home Media statements Charter 2000-Aliran Makkal Osai ban and ‘open ears’ don’t sit well together

Makkal Osai ban and ‘open ears’ don’t sit well together

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Charter 2000-Aliran is appalled at the Home Ministry’s rejection of a permit application by the Makkal Osai management – which is presumably due to the Tamil daily’s coverage of the Opposition besides giving the BN wider coverage.

This makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s post-election promise to keep all ears open to comments, criticism and information that might serve as useful feedback to the federal government.

Even more confounding is that the Home Ministry’s action suggests that important lessons from the electoral results – one of which is that the party didn’t feel carefully the nation’s pulse on the ground – have been lost on the ruling BN,

Equally disturbing is that the ruling BN seems to have recoiled to its old fossilised self, refusing to respond and adapt adequately to the new political realities. It is still incapable of appreciating the importance of freedom of expression and of the media.

The Home Ministry should take note of the Information Minister’s recent remarks that the credibility of the mainstream media has been perceived by the general public as wanting.

We call upon the government to grant the publishing permit to Makkal Osai without delay. In fact, the government should repeal all restrictive media laws and institute a Freedom of Information Act in the near future.

Dr Mustafa K Anuar & Anil Netto

Coordinators, Charter 2000-Aliran

17 April 2008

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