The days when “the government knows it all” are over, so said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in one of his earlier speeches as the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
He has repeated the message many times since and the last time we heard it a little louder was during the 1st Malaysia-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference held in Kuala Lumpur recently.
The Prime Minister reiterated the message, elaborated and invited Malaysians to share their thoughts, ideas and vision with the Government.
The term “government knows it all” certainly doesn’t mean the Government knows nothing as some are quick to paint. I gather that the Government, or rather the Prime Minister is just being open.
What was done behind closed doors are now being gradually opened for greater participation and civilised discourse. As the populace “grows”, the Government invites greater ownership.
At the BlogHouseMalaysia organised conference, Najib engaged the regional bloggers in an open Q&A – dialogue in the presence of former Prime Minister, Premier blogger and Blog House Malaysia patron Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib reassured that the Government would ensure media freedom and uphold the MSC Bill of Guarantee of “no internet censorship”.
(If Dr Mahathir was indeed a control freak he certainly wouldn’t have introduced the MSC Bill of Guarantee)
To cut a long story short, I guess we should seriously look around us and think for a second if we truly lack “Press Freedom” in this country.
Most of our mainstream newspapers have become more blunt (some are of course sliding into oblivion), the various political party newspapers and newsletters are selling like hot-cakes despite their half-truths and outright lies.
Blogs are practically ‘on fire’ with loads of information on any given subject. Micro-blogging site Twitter is staple food to an increasing number of Malaysians – no matter who or where they are.
The internet is absolutely free from any kind of censorship.
If all that doesn’t spell freedom, I just wonder what freedom of the press really is in the eyes of the so-called ‘fighters of press freedom”.
The ‘government knows-it-all” days maybe over but an increasing number of partisan Non-Govermental Organisations and their political masters seem to be after the “know-it-all” title now.
These NGOs and some ‘old politician’ seem to know it all and since they think they know it all they expect everyone else to toe their line.
p/s Utusan Malaysia too exercised their freedom by sacking one of their journalist who happens to be the National Union of Journalist president (an Opposition party sympatiser – if not hardcore supporter) to protect the interest of the company which employs thousands of responsible journalist who certainly uphold the spirits of Press Freedom.