KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil is setting the record straight. On Thursday (Aug 10), he stated unequivocally that he had given no instructions to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block anyone on any platform. His statement comes as a response to recent news reports. These reports claimed that the Malaysian news portal ‘UtusanTV’ had been blocked by MCMC. The news stirred confusion and raised questions about media freedom in the country.
Fahmi emphasized his commitment to free media, saying he had not given any instructions to MCMC to block either conventional media or social media.
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“I believe media should be free,” he affirmed. “No such instruction has come from me or my office.”
Fahmi said he had not received any reports regarding the issue from MCMC. He, however, committed to asking the commission for details. He explained that if police reports or complaints are lodged by the public, MCMC does have the authority to block access.
“Sometimes reports also come from the police,” he told reporters after the launching of the Ohsem Digital Advertising Fund.
Background on UtusanTV Issue
Recently, media reported that the UtusanTV news portal had been inaccessible since Monday (Aug 7). It was allegedly blocked by MCMC. This led to speculation and concerns about the freedom of the press in Malaysia.
Additionally, Utusan Malaysia issued a notice. It stated that its publication and parent company, Media Mulia Sdn Bhd, had no relations to UtusanTV. The notice further added to the complexity of the situation.
Implications and Considerations
Fahmi’s statement is significant for several reasons:
- Reaffirming Media Freedom: By publicly declaring that he has not instructed MCMC to block any media, Fahmi underscores the importance of media freedom in Malaysia.
- Transparency: His commitment to ask MCMC for details indicates a willingness to be transparent and to address public concerns.
- MCMC’s Authority: Fahmi’s remarks also shed light on MCMC’s authority to block access based on police reports or public complaints. This opens a discussion on the checks and balances within the system.
- Distancing from UtusanTV: The notice issued by Utusan Malaysia distancing itself from UtusanTV adds an additional layer of intrigue. It highlights the necessity for clear communication and verification within the media landscape.
Minister Fahmi Fadzil’s statements aim to clarify the situation and reaffirm the government’s stance on media freedom. The incident with UtusanTV serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between regulation, freedom of expression, and the importance of transparency in democratic society.
As Malaysia continues to navigate the complex terrain of media and digital communication, incidents like this offer opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and growth.
The news is based on The Star.