MMC Bill will be finalised, says Fahmi

The Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil said his ministry is close to finalising the Malaysian Media Council (MMC) Bill which will empower and grant more freedom to the media carrying out their duties.

“In addition, to empower the media in the country, including granting more freedom in carrying out their duties, the Communications Ministry is in the final stages of finalising the content of the MMC Bill together with the interim committee of the MMC comprising representatives from the media industry, academics, and the public sector.

“The MMC is responsible for developing and implementing ethical codes of reporting that strengthen the nation’s journalism profession and ensure responsible news coverage by the media,” he said in a parliamentary written reply.

He was responding to Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden (PN-Alor Setar) who requested the Communications Minister to state the government’s stance on media freedom practices in Malaysia and to detail the initiatives being undertaken to restore Malaysia’s position in World Press Freedom Index.

Malaysia had declined to 107th place in this year’s World Press Freedom Index from 73rd place previously.

He said that the functions of the MMC also include promoting communication among media practitioners, the government, and the general public, as well as supporting the professional development of journalists and media organisations.

“In terms of authority, the MMC will establish ethical and responsible journalism standards, including conduct guidelines for the media industry.

“Additionally, the MMC will create efficient dispute resolution mechanisms to consider and investigate complaints related to the media industry, ensuring public confidence in media practitioners,” he said.

He also said to enhance Malaysia’s position in the global index, the government will review the need for media law reforms and ensure that human rights, including media freedom, are prioritised in the country’s policies and practices.

“The local media industry will also play a role as a catalyst for freedom of expression.

“Furthermore, the government is ready to collaborate with relevant agencies to improve media freedom, ensure genuine media integrity and freedom, and maintain harmony and balance in the multicultural society,” he said.