Media worse off in Malaysia

Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) | .

Every year on May 3 is the annual World Press Freedom Day commemoration.
Throughout last year, media practitioners and media consumers in Malaysia are constantly reminded of the constricting freedom of press - both literally and figuratively.
Suspensions of The Edge and shutdowns of The Malaysian Insider and several online portal have directly reduced available spaces for media practitioners to carry out our duties.
This is aside from being subjected to harrassment from the powers that be, as well those who felt that their hold on power are being challenged or threatened by media reports.
In this last month, cases such as harassment towards Malaysiakini journalist Kow Gah Chie; another Malaysiakini journalist being chased out of an event in Sibu; as well as investigations against editor from The Heat over an article, also foreshadows an even more challenging year.
All this in the backdrop of our declining press free index rankings, recently released by Reporters Sans Frontiers.
Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) believes that the time has come for all media practitioners to unite under the same goal - defending our rights to carry out the duties which has been entrusted upon us.
All manners of pressure and harrassment being inflicted on any media practitioner should be felt by all of us.
Geramm also believes that a free media can only stand upon a society that shares the spirit to demand such freedom.
It would be impossible for the media to be free without this spirit of freedoms: freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
With existence of a society that have respect and demands for a free media, media owners and practitioners would be directly encouraged to fulfill their demands.
In short, a free press will not exist only on the individual spirit of journalists, but backed by society's unrelenting pressure for such standards to be met.
In conjunction with the World Press Freedom Day commemoration this year, Geramm urges all parties to respect the people's rights to freedom of thought and expression, and for all media practitioners to be mindful of our own rights in carrying out our duties.
It is only in this way that we can hope to encourage diversity of opinions in our society and address the varying interests of people from different groups.
Geramm believes that a free, ethical and responsible press is not only a driver of democracy, but also a catalyst to nation building as a whole.
It has been a three years since Geramm was born out of the discontent of those in the industry against government restrictions, blatant control and media workers being made pawns of corporations and the political game of thrones.
But things have not only remain they same, they are in fact getting worse for the media in Malaysia.
Thus in line with our own calls for change, we will also be launching our 'new look' at an upcoming event, with details to be announced soon.
We sincerely hope that our supporters and supporters of free press will stand with us as we continue to defend our own rights and the people.
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