Bersih: “MCMC blocking UtusanTV reminiscent of Najib-era censorship”

THE Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) has called on the government to honour its commitment to safeguarding free speech and media freedom following reports that the website was blocked from public access.

According to the electoral watchdog, free and fair media should be allowed to flourish under the Madani government.

It also noted that the situation resembled the censorship of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration, where news portals critical of his government or seen as “supporting” the opposition were blocked.

Bersih also pointed out that the move was what had caused Pakatan Harapan to include promises to repeal the Sedition Act 1948, Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 and Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 in its manifestos for the previous general elections.

“During that era, Harapan was denied access to government media platforms and any reports on them by these media were skewed and unflattering,” it said in a statement today (Aug 8).

As such, Bersih called on the government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to honour his pledge as laid out in his coalition’s manifesto to defend free speech and protect media freedom.

“ site must be unblocked immediately. Should there be any concerns about the content of a media organisation, there should be a transparent process with a show cause letter and appeal opportunity before any blocking,” the committee said.

“A key cornerstone of democracy is free and fair access to public media by all political parties but sadly Malaysia has never witnessed such fair play during our elections.”

It further expressed hope that television channels such as Bernama and RTM would give free airtime for all coalition leaders at the state-level to talk about their manifestos, provide equitable media coverage, and host political debates between the coalitions and parties.

This is as the campaign period for the six state elections and one parliamentary by-election in Terengganu comes to a close with three more days left.

Yesterday (Aug 7), it was reported that attempts to access resulted in redirection to a generic government notice claiming a violation of the national law, without specifying the nature of the violation.

A link was provided for more information but it did not work. is a spinoff of Utusan Malaysia’s lifestyle section.

It was set up by its former staff after its parent company Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad was closed in 2019 due to financial troubles.

The Utusan Malaysia newspaper was relaunched in 2020 under new management and is not affiliated with – Aug 8, 2023

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