Engagements with industry stakeholders on the formation of an independent Malaysian Media Council will continue under the renamed Digital Communications Ministry, said its newly-minted minister Fahmi Fadzil.
Speaking at his first press conference after clocking in for duty at the ministry in Putrajaya this afternoon, Fahmi said he received an initial briefing on the media council and that he would seek further information.
“To me, I need to understand the full picture. If you were to ask me again at the end of this week or next week, I might have more to say,” Fahmi said.
He earlier met with ministry officials from 11 agencies and three departments, during which he was briefed on current and outstanding matters.
Having previously voiced support for the proposal from media practitioners and civil society organisations that started since the first Pakatan Harapan administration in 2018, Fahmi reiterated his personal commitment but stressed it was not about maintaining any existing friendly ties.
“Of course, prior to becoming a minister, I was personally very committed. I have a lot of friends who are media practitioners.
“But it’s not about friendship. It’s about professionalism and assuring freedom of speech for media practitioners,” stressed the Lembah Pantai MP.
“And also to look at other aspects, not only in terms of profession but I’m also concerned about the welfare of journalists and it’s something I’m willing to look into.
“And to even engage with media organisations. I look forward to furthering engagements soon,” he added.
A pro-tem committee to set up an independent Malaysian Media Council through an Act of Parliament was formed in January 2020, when the ministry was helmed by Gobind Singh Deo.
A draft Bill was later submitted to Gobind’s successor, Saifuddin Abdullah.
Further engagements were also carried out with Fahmi’s predecessor, Annuar Musa, towards self-regulation of the media industry.
Meanwhile, Fahmi said he had a planned meeting with representatives from the social media platform TikTok today to discuss matters related to existing regulatory frameworks, in light of incendiary content found in the aftermath of the 15th general election.
He said similar meetings would also be held with other social media platforms, with a common interest towards ensuring harmony among the races.
Following the general briefing with ministry officials, Fahmi said his first two weeks in office would be spent on individual meetings with each agency and department under his purview.
The press conference today was cut short after Fahmi received a call requesting his presence at a 3pm press conference with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the Prime Minister’s Office. – Malaysiakini