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The Malaysian Media Council pro-tem committee, which convened for the first time on Thursday (Jan 30), has discussed the contents of its draft bill.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Media Council pro-tem committee, which convened for the first time on Thursday (Jan 30), has discussed the contents of its draft bill.

The council pro-tem committee chairman Premesh Chandran said the draft bill, which will help to formally establish the Malaysian Media Council, would be based on six principles.

1) The scope of the council shall cover all forms of media including print, broadcast and online and shall cover private as well as public-owned media.

2) The media council will not cover individual speech on social media or blogs, for which other laws currently or should cover.

3) That participation in the council will be on a volunteer or opt-in basis and that there will have to be sufficient benefits and incentives for the media industry to participate.

4) Laws that curb press freedom or inhibit good journalistic practices will have to be abolished.

5) The council will have a code of conduct for media as well as a proper grievance procedure.

6) The council will also look into the overall sustainability of the media industry, improving journalism standards and media literacy.

Premesh said Thursday’s discussion also touched on laws that would need to be abolished or amended for the council to work effectively.

He added that their discussions were also on how to incorporate interests of various stakeholders including the media industry, journalists, government and the public.

“The committee acknowledged the differing perspectives among stakeholders while also affirming that all parties are in favour of an independent, responsible and professional media industry,” he said in a statement today.

Premesh said the pro-tem committee has agreed to expand its membership to ensure that important stakeholders are involved in the drafting of the media council bill.

The new members are Media Chinese International Group’s PC Liew, NST Group Editor Lokman Mansor, University of Nottingham’s Professor Zaharom Nain, S.S. Yoga representing Sabah and Sarawak, National Union of Journalist vice-president Farah Marshita Abdul Patah, Sabah Journalist Association president Muguntan Vanar and Federation of Sarawak Journalists Associations president Jacqueline Radoi David,

Various sub-committees, added Premesh, have been formed to develop the principles above and to report back to the pro-tem committee, which will meet again in two weeks.

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