The government today assured that it will continue providing the widest possible access for the media to report news in line with existing provisions in the Federal Constitution.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the government is always committed to supporting and upholding freedom of the press.
“The government’s stance is clear and we recognise the important role of media practitioners in carrying out their functions and fulfilling their responsibilities,” he said in a statement.
He added that his ministry took note of the 2021 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders on April 17, in which Malaysia was ranked 119th.
He said efforts to prevent the spread of false information do not mean restricting press freedom.
He said that in the IT era of the 21st century, the media is responsible not only for disseminating transparent information but also for protecting the people from the spread of false information that could threaten stability and harmony in the country.
He said the media in the country had long collaborated with the government and had always been proactive in helping to refute false information.
“As we fight to stop the Covid-19 pandemic, governments around the world also face the challenge of tackling the spread of false information and ensuring that authentic and accurate news and information are channelled to the people,” he said.
He said the enforcement of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No.2) Ordinance 2021 from March 12 was specifically to address false information related to Covid-19 and the emergency proclamation.