Abolish and not extend validity period of annual licensing, Gerakan Youth Press statement by Gerakan Youth Deputy chief, Oh Tong Keong

Gerakan Youth today reiterate its call for the abolishment of the annual licensing procedure required by the Home Ministry to ensure press freedom and impartiality. 

Gerakan Youth Deputy Chief, Oh Tong Keong urged that the government should abolish annual licensing altogether and not issue license for a period longer than one year as it is still a Damocles sword which obstructs press freedom.  

“Newspaper publishers and editors are often burdened with this ruling every year when their permits are about to expire,” said Oh, who added that this particular procedure is curbing press freedom as they will be worried whether their permits will be renewed. 

Oh stressed that the traditional print media are bounded by this annual licensing condition; hence they are unable to play their media roles in a free and fair manner.  

“This issue is especially crucial now that the online or alternative media requires no annual licensing permits,” reminded Oh, who continued that more Malaysians are surfing the Internet for news from alternative websites and even blogs. 

Oh warned that the mainstream media will continue to lose out to the alternative media if there are elements of unnecessary press freedom restrictions, be it directly or indirectly. 

The Home Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Fuad Abdul Aziz was reported to have said the ministry was considering calls from the printing and publishers industry that the licenses be issued for 10 years instead of the need for yearly renewal.

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