Got to be cautious about this. It’s not too long ago – that the new ‘Tun’ Abdullah uttered the same words and nearing the end of his term he ISA-ed a journalist, suspended opposition newsletters.
However, it’s kinda of refreshing though that the new prime minister Najib has open mind on both old and new media (mass media and internet base media):
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants to encourage respectable and fair dialogue on the country’s future involving the whole nation that takes place with a vibrant, free and informed media.
He said that to truly build a democracy responsive to the people’s needs, the country needed a media – both old and new – that was empowered to responsibly report what they sew, without fear of consequences, and to hold government and public officials accountable for the results they produced.
“That is why as one of my first official acts, I lifted the ban on two media outlets which are extensions of the Opposition at the federal level,” he said in his speech on Policy, Politics and the New Media – A New Way Forward at the MPI Press Awards Night Monday night.
Najib also said that when too much of political discourse had descended into rumours and name-calling, people turned off the traditional media and looked to interact directly with each other and with leaders as they sought dialogue as a nation and not just monologues from politicians.
Acknowledging that the new media played an important role in the country’s political and civic future, he said he wanted to encourage a debate that took place across all media and all parts of the country.
He urged all Malaysians to establish a “new national discourse” on; the principles of transparency and accountability; service to all, not just a few; and respect and fairness in the public dialogue.
The Prime Minister also said he wanted a world-class, fact based reporting and a media that was fair and responsible in its reporting so that it could foster a constructive debate about the nation’s future.
“I believe we can move beyond those who offer the journalism of conspiracy theory and rumour,” he said.
But don’t cheer yet – as he barely three days in the chair and things could change drastically in near future. A defeat in the three by-election would trigger some changes in his policy. Plus the old Umno’s guards are still there and probably the one who would be calling the shot.