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.

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