The relationship between the media and government, and its influence on democracy and national development are non-separable. In the 21st century, with the emergence of modern nation states, media is also essential aid to development, becoming an important channel for good governance and transparency.
In Malaysia, the mainstream press faces stringent political, legal, and economic controls, and is constantly balancing between national and commercial interests. Nevertheless, the mainstream press in Malaysia has gone through a major evolution, beginning in the early 1980s, coinciding with the period in which Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became the Prime Minister. This trend extended into the 1990s.
This publication is a transcript of the sixth Perdana Discourse Series which took place on 18th April 2007, in which the role of the media – including that of bloggers – in national development was discussed at length. Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivered the keynote address in which he explained the government view of the press, and why controls were regarded as necessary. He addressed concerns on media freedom, responsibility, transparency, and objectivity.
His keynote address was followed by a moderated discussion chaired by Professor Dr Faridah Hassan of UiTM. The discussants were Dato’ A. Kadir Jasin (Editor -In-Chief of Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd), Mr Steven Gan(founder and editor of Malaysiakini), Mr Jeff Ooi (blogger cum columnist and Protem Vice President of National Alliance of Bloggers) and Dr Kamalan Jevaratnam (student representative from International Medical University).
This publicaiton is a useful reference for readers who are keen to know more about the press in Malaysia, the developmental role it plays, and the rise of new media such as blogs.
The Perdana Discourse Series was jointly organised by Perdana Leadership Foundation, an independent research and archive institution dedicated to Malaysia's Prime Ministers, and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), the biggest public university in Malaysia.