Monday, December 16

Unesco picks Malaysia to collaborate on Asia-Pacific media freedom activities

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PARIS: Unesco looks forward to collaborating with Malaysia in organising regional activities on media freedom at the Asia-Pacific level next year, it was stated here.

These activities may be in the form of international media forums or seminars, said Unesco assistant director-general for Communication and Information, Moez Chakchouk.

He conveyed this message to Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Suriani Ahmad who made a courtesy call on him at his office here.

Suriani had attended the Communication and Information Commission meeting at the 40th Unesco General Conference.

Chakchouk commended Malaysia on its progress in advocating media freedom.

Saying that Malaysia has achieved a lot in advocating media freedom, he said the country has also “showed the will to work with us”.

“Regional events would be needed to promote media literacy at the Asia Pacific level, so maybe Malaysia can host something like that in 2020.

“We would like to engage with the Malaysian government in order to encourage other countries to replicate Malaysia’s achievements,” he said.

Chakchouk said Malaysia’s progress in addressing issues pertaining to media freedom showed the government’s seriousness in advocating ease of news coverage.

This is a positive note on the global media reform efforts, he said.

According to the World Press Freedom Index 2019 compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Malaysia moved up 22 places to 123rd out of 180 countries.

It surpassed other Southeast Asian countries as well.

Indonesia ranked 124th, Philippines 134th, Thailand 136th, Myanmar 138th, Cambodia 143rd, Singapore 151st, Brunei Darussalam 152nd, Laos 171st and Vietnam 176th.

The RSF report said the general environment for journalists in Malaysia is much more relaxed, self-censorship has declined dramatically and the print media is now offering a fuller and more balanced range of viewpoints. — Bernama