KOTA KINABALU, SABAH – Kota Kinabalu Journalists Association (KKJA) yesterday welcomed the new Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo’s announcement to abolish the Anti-Fake News Act and to improve the freedom of press in the country.
KKJA chairman Yong Ted Phen urged Gobind to expedite the abolishment of the Act to ensure more openness and freedom for media practitioners.
Gobind recently said that the Anti-Fake News Act officially gazetted in April would be repealed.
The minister has also expressed his commitment to improve media freedom.
“The media churning out news and publishing companies are bound by the existing laws so we have to look at it that way, and we have to find ways to improve the freedom of press in the country,” Gobind said, adding that he welcomed reporters to see him on how to make improvements on this matter.
Yong said the association would be happy to provide its views or feedback on this issue.
He said Gobind, a first-time minister, was a senior lawyer who was well-versed in the laws affecting the media industry.
“His pledge to improve the freedom of press was great news for media practitioners in Malaysia.”
On another note, Yong hoped that Gobind would not neglect the need to upgrade broadband infrastructure and services as his ministry studied whether the speed of existing broadband connections services could be doubled at half the price.
“It is undeniable that the broadband connection in Sabah lags far inferior than that in the main cities in West Malaysia.”
He stressed the urgent need to improve broadband coverage and connection in many parts of Sabah, including the urban areas.
“Journalists rely heavily on the internet in our line of work. We require fast, reliable and uninterrupted broadband services to bring the latest news to our readers without delay.”
Yong pointed out that journalists who live stream major events or breaking news on Facebook often encountered disruptions, as well as problems with poor video and audio quality, particularly when the broadband services was congested.
“Hence, we hope that the ministry will resolve this issue once and for all.”
He said there was a sharp increase of users following the latest political development on social media and online news portals during the 14th General Election (GE14) that just concluded, which reflected the need for better broadband services.
As such, Yong hoped that broadband service providers would also upgrade their products and services to meet the demands of the market.