Sunday, June 1, 2008

Media Freedom Day - The Walk and the Talk

De Facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim was the guest of honor for the media freedom day as media professionals wanted to engage with him on the demand of giving better freedom to the press. The event was held today at the National Press Club opposite Bank Negara.

Some had started walk from Merdeka Square with some police seen around the square and around Bank Rakyat opposite the Royal Selangor Club but they were no incidents of intimidation or brutality as they knew that Minister is participating in the event. I came from Bank Negara, from by train and spent 5 minutes walking from there to the club.

Many people gathered there from 9.15 a.m onwards as they were treated to a sumptuous meals of nasi lemak and roti canai with free coffee / tea while awaiting for Zaid. In addition to the regular lot of bloggers, special guests being there including Bernama GM Azman Ujang, journalist / playright Kee Thuan Chye, Star Chief Editor, Wong Chun Wai, with the organization's journalists like A. Asohan, Shahanaz Sher Habib, NUJ head Norilla Daud, A. Gayathry from CIJ, Malaysiakini's Steven Gan with columnists Helen Ang and KJ John and of course two assemblymen, Wee Choo Keong and Ronnie Liu.

As planned, the event kicked off at 10.15 a.m and the show was cut short at 11 a.m as Zaid had to attend to certain matters. Following introductions and hackling from the press professionals, Zaid took to the stage. Despite being booed and criticized by the media, Zaid, all in all told the media professionals to join collectively and give proposals and strategies in providing, part of the roadmap for better press freedom. Zaid pointed out that most of the media professionals did not look to the other side of the coin. But some of the questions during the Q&A session, a proposal forwarded by Chun Wai on having a one-time permit seemed to get cold reaction from Zaid's answer. His answer was merely to forward it to Syed Hamid Albar and support whatever decision Hamid will take. He told that there must be a mechanism that can manage changes otherwise anarchy will happen.

Note: There was a minor incident where some people had to calm down blind-blogger Alfred Ho over a remarks and speaking against the subject today.

Excerpt from Bernama:
"Show unity. Show your role in the process. If you want to change something in existence ...(then) you must propose and offer a solution ... a mechanism to manage the process.

That you must do. If you want greater press freedom, you must have a plan," he said at a dialogue organised by the National Press Club (NPC) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia (NUJ) at the NPC premises, here.

"The country needs a good and free press. If you talk about reform, you must have plans. I believe that if we have good proposals, maybe certain progress can be made. Not necessarily (one has to) repeal everything," he said.
The video, courtesy of Malaysiakini: Zaid did not endear himself to journos today

After the session, people were invited to continue the walk for freedom from the club to the big flag pole at Merdeka Square. Fortunately there were no bad incidents happening there. Most left after 12 and bloggers mostly stayed back at the club for rounds of drinks and brunch. I also had a the pleasure of meeting a renowned Malaysian aviator, Lokman Sardon, (Tun Sardon Jubir's son) and the father of Malaysian documentary filmmaker Adam Lokman and had a good discussion session on aviation, conspiracy theories and political stuff.

Additional photos from the event can be seen at my Facebook album here.

Further accounts from fellow bloggers on the event:

Galadriel: Walking on The Wild Side with Zaid Ibrahim
Howsy: Yes, There Was a Walk and a Talk But Was There a 'Walk The Talk?'
Rocky: Where Were The Editors?

Special NOTE: YEWTUBE's Tony Yew will be the guest for tonight's BLOG on TV1 so join in!

1 comment:

  1. Always be polite to your officially invited speaker
    Whether you agree with him or not is another matter
    Consider carefully his views and questions as ice-breakers
    Giving him your answers in a courteous manner is for the better

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 020608
    Mon. 2nd June 2008.


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