The Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJ) welcomes the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision today to quash the government’s suspension of the publishing licenses of The Edge Malaysia Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily.
High Court judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad ruled that the Home Ministry acted illegally and irrationally in issuing the three-month suspension order. She noted that the Home Ministry’s show cause letter to The Edge publisher did not specify which articles the government found to be undesirable.
The IoJ urges the government not to appeal against the High Court ruling in the interest of press freedom, transparency and public accountability.
The government should, instead, exercise its right of reply and explain its side of the story on any issue in order to meet its obligations to the public interest, especially when it concerns public funds.
The press can only function in the public interest if it has the independence to report without fear or favour. The government has no right to license the press and should abolish its licensing regime with immediate effect.