The Chinese online daily, Merdeka Review, was today barred from covering Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s announcement of the new cabinet line-up in Putrajaya this afternoon. The decision was made by the Prime Minister’s Office.
According to the Merdeka Review reporter, she contacted one of Najib’s aides who confirmed the matter.
The reporter and a photographer from Merdeka Review were told of the matter by Prime Minister’s Office security guards when trying to obtain security passes, half an hour before the press conference began at 3pm.
Other than reporters from Merdeka Review, five newsmen who arrived after the 2.50pm cut-off time, were also barred from entering the Prime Minister’s Department building.
Najib had said in a speech to the Malaysian Press Institute on April 6 where he called on the press to perform their duties “without fear of consequence” and he encourage a new national debate that would promote transparency and accountability.
"I firmly believe that there is a vital place in that dialogue for a vibrant, free and informed media…Merdeka Review editor-in-chief Chang Teck Teng said the new Prime Minister "cakap tak serupa bikin (go against his word)."
"If we are truly to build a democracy that is responsive to the needs of all the people, we need a media - both old and new - that is empowered to responsibly report what they see, without fear of consequence."
"He must respect press freedom and do what he has promised. He cannot have a ban without providing any reasons,” he said.
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