On February 6, 2018, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-IFRA)’s Media Freedom Committee Malaysia (MFC Malaysia) organised a closed-door Roundtable for Malaysian media editors in Kuala Lumpur.
This is the second such roundtable that was organised by MFC Malaysia, with the first roundtable, which was also first-of-its-kind in Malaysia, being held on August 1, 2017.
While the first roundtable gave a platform for decision-makers in the Malaysian media landscape to discuss common challenges facing the press in Malaysia, the second roundtable specifically discussed the possibility of setting up a Press Ombudsperson in Malaysia.
One of the main goals of the MFC Malaysia committee, which comprises of nine experienced Malaysian journalists and editors, is to start a conversation about the formation of an independent, self-regulating press council in the country.
While we recognise that a conversation about the formation of a press council is a long process that will take time, we are of the opinion that a body representing the press in Malaysia that would act is a mediator between the government and the media is essential; as the government continues to periodically use criminal laws in taking action against industry players.
As such, the idea of a Press Ombudsperson, that could also help set certain common standards for the industry, was discussed during the roundtable by some 15 editors from different media mediums and languages.
Following the discussion, an overwhelming majority of the editors agreed on the need to have a Press Ombudsperson in Malaysia.
MFC Malaysia recognises that this only the beginning of a series of conversations that has to include many other media houses and editors who were unable to join the discussion.
Following the encouragement given by the media editors at the meeting, the MFC will now form a sub-committee on the formation of a Press Ombudsperson in Malaysia.
This committee will attempt to include the larger media fraternity in this conversation regarding a Press Ombudsperson in Malaysia, and will also come up with several alternative frameworks as to how an Ombudsperson structure can be set up in Malaysia.
For more information, please contact Ram Anand at 016-5289589
Wan-IFRA Media Freedom Committee (Malaysia)