KUALA LUMPUR: Nineteen actions, in the form of reprimands, advice and show cause letters, were taken against some media organisations in the country up to September this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said, however, none of the newspaper or media organizations involved were suspended or had their permits revoked.
He said the government had also set up a special committee involving the Prime Minister’s Department, Information Communication and Culture Ministry, Home Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chambers to monitor the alternative media the country.
“The actions taken against the press, of all languages, clearly proves Malaysia does not restrict media freedom.
“This move (setting up the committee) is being taken to ensure media practice is clean from elements of sedition, libel and accusations which will bring about a negative impact to the development of our country,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) at the Dewan Rakyat.
Shamsul Anuar had wanted to know how true allegations were that the media in this country was controlled and how far the government had gone in taking action against the press and in monitoring the alternative media.
Abu Seman said the Home Ministry had approved a total of 76 newspapers in different languages nationwide, with 45 in the peninsula, 13 in Sabah and 18 in Sarawak so far.
Of the total, he said 18 were Malay newspapers, English (19), Chinese (29) and Punjabi/Tamil (10).
He said the ministry had also approved 42 permits for current affairs tabloid newspapers and 16 permits for the official newspapers of political parties in the country. — Bernama