Journalists call for PPPA to be abolished

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4, 2014): A newly-formed media watchdog group comprising concerned journalists who called themselves the Movement of Angry Media (Geramm) today held its first protest rally to call on the government to immediately abolish the Printing, Presses and Publication Act (PPPA).

One of its spokespersons, Fathi Aris Omar, said the call was made because media suppression is seen to be prominent in the country, thus should be ceased immediately.

Fathi, who is the chief editor of an online news portal, said this is one of the group's eight demands, citing the case of a newsweekly `The Heat' which printing permit was suspended on Dec 18 allegedly over an article detailing the prime minister's excessive spendings on its front page.

Present with him was former Free and Fair Election (Bersih) chairman Datuk S. Ambiga, who echoed Fathi's sentiment.

"Freedom of the press is a basic fundamental of expression. This includes listening or reading (articles) which you don't like," she said in her speech, adding that today's assembly was not only about the weekly's suspension but also of the media's integrity to stand independently.

"This `Red Pencil' campaign is important. It's (also) about your self-worth. The entire idea of licensing (the media) is against press freedom," she said.

To mark the occasion, each red-clad protester broke a red pencil and stuck it to a huge red pencil replica to be sent later to the office of the Home Ministry.

The group then proceeded towards the corner near the Masjid Jamek LRT station on Jalan Tun Perak where theSun's former journalist Radzi Razak was beaten up by the police during the Bersih rally in 2012.

The rally ended on a high note with DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang who came to express his support for the movement.

He said that further suppression of the media by the ruling-government would be futile and urged for the suspension of The Heat's printing permit to be lifted immediately.