Use RTM to reach Malay base, Pakatan

Use RTM to reach Malay base, Pakatan

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan government needs to use RTM to reach out to the wider Malay base to make its progressive reform agenda a reality.

“RTM has a wide reach on the Malay base. They should stop being defensive and use progressive narrative.

“They should invite those with progressive on their programs,” said panelist Zaharom Naim who is a professor on media studies with Nottingham University.

“The official government media hasn’t come out with an alternative inclusive narrative,” he said at a briefing held at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

“The government also should address the concerns of the B40.  Then their discontentment will fizzle out,” he added.

He said this in response to a question on the rise of right wing groups raising issues along the line of race and religion.

Zaharom was one of the panellists at Article 19 and Civicus’ briefing entitled “New government, old tactics: Lack of progress on reform commitments undermines fundamental freedom and democracy in Malaysia.

The report focused on freedom of expression, association, assembly and media freedom.

Earlier in his presentation, he also noted the rise of aggregator sites and social media as competitors to the traditional and online media.

Aggregator sites refer to sites that publishes reports of other sites.

“Unfortunately these are on the rise.  Aggregator and social media have trust issues.”

“Mainstream media has come out. Some hasn’t pushed away their emphasis on race and religion. 

Fellow panelist E Nalini of Article 19 meanwhile pointed out that the government was giving mixed messages with regards to their promises on reforms.

“On Sedition Act, Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said Sedition Act will be repealed but Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that it will remain and the usage continues since the Seafield clashes,” she said.

She also told off the government for promising reforms but have been lagging in implementing them.

“You say looking into it while using it. If you are  committed to reform, impose a moratorium and engage the civil society to amend the laws.”

Josef Roy Benedict of Civicus’ meanwhile highlighted how freedom of assembly laws were used to curtail human rights defenders and indigenous people.

“Rights activists have been hauled up under Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act as seen in the case of Suaram’s Sevan Dorasamy and PSM’s S Arutchelvan.”

“The indigenous community were intimidated and harassed in Perak and Kelantan.”

“The government must message the police to assist not harass human rights defenders and the indigenous community.”

S Thilaga from Justice for Sisters meanwhile highlighted that there is an increased pressure on the government to act against the LGBT community.

“Three groups are being targetted: LGBT, human rights defenders and LGBT associates.

“Transgenders are facing boycotts of their business. There is also more moral policing.”

“This was aside from significant discrimination at work and shrinking space, she said.

She urged the authorities to conduct a human rights impact assessment

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