Photo taken from The Star Online

By Syauqi Jamil

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof today wants the media to report the truth, even if it may be in the form of negative criticism against the government.

He said it is vital for the nation to have a free media that is at liberty to report things as it is to ensure progress towards becoming a developed nation.

“To ensure the country’s progress towards becoming a developed nation, there must be responsible and mature check amd balance of the government by a free media in an atmosphere of transparency and accountability,” he said.

Speaking during his opening speech at the Roundtable with Parliamentarians here, Ariff further stressed the importance of press freedom seeing that Malaysia ranked 145 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2018.

He said the rank in the report published by Reporters Without Borders doesn’t reflect Malaysia’s aspiration towards becoming a developed country.

“Regretfully, we have seen perhaps unjustifiable restrictions and harassment of the media, leading to a chilling effect on the press,” he said.

Ariff however took note of the new Pakatan Harapan government’s pledge to review, repeal and abolish statutes which were deemed oppressive and an abuse of power.

He claimed to have witnessed marked improvements in the sais area under the new administration and hopes that the roundtable can further strengthen the national legislation on freedom of expression, access to information and press freedom.

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