Imposing restrictions on the media seems to be the flavour of the week.
Spot the difference – if any:
Restricting press conferences or party events to only “friendly media” is short-sighted and reflects on the insecurities of the politicians concerned. Can the Pakatan leaders now complain with a straight face about the restrictions on the new media in covering the Umno assembly after what has happened in Penang?
In more liberal democratic societies, the media regularly and often savagely lampoon and mock their leaders, but do we see the leaders who have been targeted then barring the media from their press conferences or suspending their permits in retaliation? Relations may be a little strained between the politicians and the media after that – but hey, that’s life in politics. Get over it.
Of course, the media in some of those countries belong to corporate media empires friendly or critical to the political parties in power for whatever reason.
But to be a political leader means accepting dose close scrutiny and a regular dose of criticism – some of which might be considered unfair – as a fact of life. That comes with the (political) territory. Get used to it.
A statesman-like politician could always hold a press conference or issue a press release to clarify matters. If that is not enough, in exceptional circumstances, he or she could turn to the courts for a remedy.
Gutter journalism should rightly be condemned but barring “unfriendly” media from covering events or suspending their permits leaves a bad taste in the mouth.