KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak has asked international media practitioners to give a balanced and fair reporting of issues related to Malaysia, especially during the upcoming 14th general election.
“We are aware of the need for the media to do their jobs. What we hope is that we are given a fair opportunity to highlight our views to ensure a balanced and fair reporting of issues,” he said during his opening speech at the “Kupi-Kupi” session with international media practitioners here yesterday.
Salleh said among issues related to Malaysia that had been raised and covered by international media recently were 1Malaysia Development Berhad, fake news laws and redelineation of the proposed electoral areas.
He said there were always speculative reports that tried to project an image of strife in Malaysia whenever an election was being held.
As it is an election, he said, the opposing parties would also voice out their different ideologies and agendas, and their views were meant for the electorate to make the best judgement.
He said the government has not suppressed any opposing views as long as these were within the confines of the laws passed by the Parliament.
“All opposing views have always been allowed by the government. However, bear in mind that Malaysia is a multiracial country that has thrived on harmonious tolerance. It is the duty of the government to ensure that all views do not lead towards strife, especially during the excitement of an election,” he said.
The two-hour “Kupi-Kupi” session was attended by 30 media practitioners from 20 international news organisations, including Al Jazeera, Kyodo News, BenarNews and Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Meanwhile, during the “Kupi-Kupi” session, Salleh reminded the international media practitioners not to politicise the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018, which was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat today, just because it has been brought up during the election season.
“Whatever we do, people will interpret differently.
“But fake news spread through various platforms, especially social media, has affected Malaysians.
“So our responsibility is to protect our people,” he said. – Bernama