Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something you can participate in come Friday

The 528 Media Action Group, Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (Wami), Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and civil rights committee of KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall cordially invite members of the public to switch off their TV sets for an hour on Friday (May 28), 8pm-9pm and to refrain from buying newspapers that day.

Members of the public are also invited to instead join the ‘Malam Tak Nak Potong 528’ at 8pm at KLSCAH for a special night of performance and screening of censored stuff.

Some of the ‘potong’ stuff: Amir Muhammad’s ‘18MP’ video, Sharon Chin’s ‘Banned Books and Other Monsters’exhibition, Chou Z Lam's Bakun documentary, Pusat Komas’s ‘Selepas Tsunami’ video, and exhibitions of Liew Teck Leong’s ‘Pull Out: Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984’, Lim Sow Seng’s ‘Lonely KL Press’, Zunar's ‘Gedung Kartun’ publication and Wong Eng Leong’s ‘Heaven of Demons’.

There will also be thought-provoking artworks by Fahmi Reza, Five Arts Centre, Tan Hui Koon, Chai Chang Hwang, Satu Hulu Action Group and Teh Hong Seng.

A highlight of the event is the commemoration of the 9th anniversary of 528 – i.e. MCA’s takeover of Nanyang Press Holdings – for which the organisers would like to openly invite National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Norila Daud, the Group Managing Director of Sinchew Media Group Liew Chen Chuan, all journalists, editors and citizens of Klang Valley, to participate in a symbolic action of abolishing the infamous Printing Presses and Publications Act by removing a nail each from the ‘Pull Out: Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984’ artwork.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day and the entire month of May is usually treated as press freedom month. In Malaysia, the relevance of this day was brought to the fore by exposés of two cases of self-censorship in TV stations, one after the other.

May 28 is another significant date for press freedom in Malaysia, marking the fall of Chinese dailies under Nanyang Press Holdings in 2001 when they were taken over by MCA through its investment arm Huaren Holdings. From then onwards, the freedom of the mainstream media to report as they saw fit has been deteriorating further, as reflected when current Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak tightened executive control over the media during the Hulu Selangor and Sibu by-elections.

It is distressing to note that in both the ntv7 and RTM cases, the by-election was cited as the excuse for abandoning discussion of current affairs.

Press release issued by 528 Media Action Group et al.

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