Media ban

The Pas-led Kedah government became the second state under Pakatan
Rakyat to penalise the media for what it deemed as a manipulation of news.

A letter, signed by the press secretary to the menteri besar, said that certain
media organisations would be banned from covering the budget session of the
state assembly beginning tomorrow.

The Kedah move followed the banning of the New Straits Times from covering the
DAP-led Penang government functions and events, effective March last year.

The Penang ban on NST has not been lifted despite appeals from some of the
biggest names in Pakatan Rakyat, including DAP chairman Karpal Singh.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Ken Liang described the Kedah action as censorship
and contrary to Pakatan Rakyat’s pledge to promote press freedom.

“The state assembly sitting is of public interest and every media house should
be allowed to attend and cover the meeting,” he said.

Yesterday, National Union of Journalists president Hata Wahari asked the Kedah
government to rescind the ban, announced in a letter dated Thursday and signed
by the press secretary, Muhamad Helmi Mohamad Khalid.

The letter said the state government would only allow Harakah, The Star, Sinar
Harian, Sin Chew Daily and Makkal Osai to cover the budget session which ends
on Tuesday.

This follows what the state government defined as manipulation of news and coverage directed against it.

Journalists said the letter was faxed to the bureau chiefs of all print and electronic media organisations based here.

Earlier in the week, journalists attending a press conference after the state executive councillors’ meeting on Wednesday were subjected to a reprimand by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak.

The ban means all publications and networks under Media Prima Bhd, Utusan
Malaysia and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) cannot cover the assembly sitting.

Hata said the NUJ was disappointed with the state government’s decision.

“It is irrational and unfair of the state government to pick on selected media

“It should not overreact to reports that are not favourable towards it.”
Hata said he would discuss the issue with Helmi.

“If the state government refuses to retract the letter, all media organisations must boycott the sitting as a sign of protest.”

Kedah Barisan Nasional Youth chief Badrul Hisham Hashim said Azizan should
not overreact.

Read more: Media ban


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