Thursday, May 01, 2008

World Press Freedom Day

The World Press Freedom Day falls on the 3rd May.

To be frank, while I've been a firm believer in the freedom of the press, and that the printing and publications act in its current form in Malaysia must be drastically revamped, I've never really been an activist in this sphere (well, we can't be everything). I've always focused more on education and economic issues faced by the country as I would regard those as areas in which I have "comparative advantage" ;-)

Therefore, when I'm cited in the latest Economist article, "Getting the Word Out", as one of the newly elected opposition members of parliament (together with Jeff Ooi, who inspired me into blogging in the first place) who forms part of this new wave of "getting the word out" via the alternative media, and an implied role in the events which has overtaken the country over the past 2 months, I feel a little shy-lah.
The past few weeks have seen some exciting developments in Malaysia, which despite being a democracy has had a shameful record of muzzling the press. In the general election in March, Malaysians abandoned the plodding, pro-government traditional media in droves and turned to the web—especially to a courageous and highly professional news site, Malaysiakini. Two prominent news bloggers, Jeff Ooi and Tony Pua, were elected for opposition parties. Both have been blogging live from parliament this past week as it convened following the election.
Let me put the record straight, being mentioned in the same paragraph as Malaysiakini and Jeff is certainly an honour for me, as it's like my name being mentioned with Tiger Woods in the same breath. I just hope I can live up to expectations.

This is the second time too, that we were highlighted in The Economist, the earlier mention just after elections - "Internet & Malaysian Politics: The Perils of Modernity".

As I said, expectations are high and I shudder sometimes when thinking about the weight on our tiny shoulders...

Anyway, in conjunction with the World Press Freedom Day, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is organising a "Towards Media and Information Law Reform" where Teo Nie Ching, my colleague from Serdang will be speaking.
Venue: The Annex, Central Market
Date: 4 May 2008 (Sun)
Time: 12.30 - 2.00 pm
This forum is part of a series of events held in Central Market by CIJ. For more details, check the Malaysia World Press Freedom Day blog here.


rainbow said...

YB Tony Pua: As I said, expectations are high and I shudder sometimes when thinking about the weight on our tiny shoulders...

I can't imagine the weight on your tiny shoulders that you all have to spring clean the 'dirt' accumulated after so many many years.... What is more important is to be M I N D F U L and not be distracted by the bad chi in the process of spring cleaning. You need to wear a mask and also gloves and goggles to protect your EYES, MOUTH and Hands... The 'dirt' can be toxic and you must make sure your immune system is strong too. Take a quick breather if you have to. Remember Steven Covey 7-Habits ; Sharpen the SAW.

I wrote to Tun's blog and asked him whether he has seen DAP's theme song 'Just Change for Malaysia" in U-tube and to reflect whether the lyrics are true and if it is why? When will this country rise above to be one race and see the sun?
Why talked about going to SPACE when space is VOID...?
Today's Star reported that 83,000 children are drop out from school and last Nov '07, the Star also reported 300,000 children has poor mental health! So what is the Education and Health Minister thinking? The BN government may say they are doing a lot to help the rakyat... what about the CHILDREN? Is there anyone who spEAKS for CHILDREN'S emotional well being?
Where do you think the MAT REMPITS come from and high in numbers now in almost every state? They are the children that were dropped out from school or with poor mental health.
I was looking at some numbers affecting children's poor mental health from 2004 to 2007 from a particular NGO and the number increased by 50% averagely! So do we need more Corridoors or Mental Health institutions within the next 5 years? It is also a fact that Malaysia lacked the experts in Children's mental health and the psychosocial support is very poor. Sometimes it amazes me there are so many NGOs in Malaysia and how well are they trained to help children for those involved in childrens work.
Maybe this is something you may want to think about. If a child's emotional development is delayed, what will become of this child?
Why some so called respectable MPs or professionals behaved in an unruly manner is not because they are fighting for the rakyat, it is because they have their own unresolved issues within them. Poor them having an abused inner child'.
We can be ASSERTIVE, FIRM n KIND in a professional manner. Fighting and arguing for the sake of whose voice is louder served no purpose but draining of energy.
So learn the Tai-chi ward and have a solid horse stand!

prussiablue said...

No need to feel shy lah Tony. You deserve it. You and Jeff must keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

YB Tony, perception is of utmost important in politics. From your last few blog posting, we know that you want to be 'close' and 'sociable' to your supporters so much so that words like shy, not being expert in the subject and letting your DAP seniors have the go first in debates start appearing in your blog, we do appreciate you wanting to be a popularist, but there are times we feel that you have to be a bit the chinese saying say...ding tian lih be the all encompassing 'hero' in our hearts. Talk without favour or fear! You do not have to please anyone but yourself that you have uphold your principle. That is the enduring quality a successful politician should have. I hope you take this as a piece of constructive advise from your ardent supporter as frankly, I have read an article somewhere else refering you to be the lameduck economic advisor to LGE. It does not go down well with me as I feel you have much to offer and do prove the writer wrong. From a concerned supporter.

allen ng said...

I understand that RPK of Malaysia Today was called by the police for the article that he wrote with regard to the Altantuya's case.I believe this is political harrasment to clamp down on the people who are using the internet to channel the news to the rakyat.

I hope you people would forward it to the Parliament to highlight the freedom of blogging without fear or favour.With the constant threat and intimidation by the police,it seems that sooner or later the people would be under surveillance and no more Press Freedom of expression.Gosh!you got to do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,
In response to anonymous:
I too have read in an article how you've been labelled the lameduck, which I believe you're anything but so. =p

However, I must disagree to an extent with what was said by anonymous. Tony's use of adjectives 'shy' etc. should not be used against him in any case.His way of presentation shows him off as his truest self, willing to admit faults and shortfalls where necessary, rather than pretend to know everything and speak out proudly about them like many politicians today.
It is this humble self of his that has and continues to win the heart of supporters, and should not be changed at all.

At the same time, everyone requires some sort of progress. Despite the fact that the areas of education and economics are your forte' or comparitive advantage as you put it, I think it is just as important to broaden your spectrum, and take interest in more than just that since, after all, you have been elected.And that means that more responsibility is on your shoulders, whether you like it or not, whether it is in your area of specialisation or not.
What we want from our leaders is not only depth, but breadth as well.

And I'm positive that with a change in mindset, to not restrict yourself to your thought to be 'areas of comparitive advantage', you'll shine.

You're our beacon of hope. And I sincerely look forward to the changes you'll bring about in due time.

Yes, the pressure can be stifling.But surely, positive pressure is constructive, just like how you always need an opposition to keep the government in check.


An avid fan

Anonymous said...

I did a write up on press freedom as well. I talked about what is involved and what are some things we need to think about.

Sincerely, blogger watchdog ;)