Govt mulls media council
> Zahid says meeting with industry heads to set up selfregulatory body possible
PUTRAJAYA: The government is willing to engage media industry captains nationwide to discuss the possibility of implementing a self-regulatory media body, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also home minister, said the government will also be looking to amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 to improve its context with the present media climate following the 14th general election.
“We are hoping to ensure that the media’s freedom to write and publish will not be as restrictive according to the present guidelines,” he said during his speech at a luncheon talk held with mainstream media editors and holders of publishing licences at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.
Recognising the need to improve provisions of the PPPA, Ahmad Zahid said he would engage media stakeholders to discuss either setting up a press ombudsman or a media council.
“With that I will also announce the launch of the hashtag #mediacouncil to get feedback from media practitioners to review and enhance the PPPA. “It is open to all media practitioners and printing industries as well as publications to pitch in their ideas and views. After the elections, perhaps we will sit together for further discussion,” he said. During the question and answer session with editors in-chief, Ahmad Zahid also promised to put forth to the Cabinet a proposal to tax internet giants such as Google and Facebook for online advertising. He agreed upon the proposal after a chief executive officer of an English daily voiced out his take on dwindling online revenue for media practitioners. The CEO also cited Vietnam’s move to impose tax on advertisements posted on Facebook and Google. On another matter, Ahmad Zahid said the redelineation proposal for constituencies to be tabled in Parliament only requires the approval of the Dewan Rakyat and does not need to go through the Dewan Negara. He said the proposal to be tabled for debate would only require a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat for it to pass. “As soon as the motion is passed at the Dewan Rakyat, the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be required before it gets gazetted.” With the 220 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, it would require only 111 votes to pass the motion.