Tamil daily’s closure prompts media freedom caucus

April 22nd, 2008 - 1:23 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 22 (IANS) Eight opposition MPs in Malaysia have initiated a caucus for media freedom after the government did not renew permission for the publication of Tamil daily Makkal Osai. The move to form a Caucus on Freedom of Expression and Information Comes ahead of convening the 12th parliament next week.

“The home ministry should openly discuss its concerns regarding the Tamil daily,” Charles Santiago, a Caucus member, said Monday.

He said the Indian community saw the action against Makkal Osai as a punishment for voting for the opposition in the recent general election.

“Makkal Osai’s permit should be renewed. If the ministry has any concerns, they should make them openly clear for further discussion and deliberation. Arbitrarily cancelling the permit is not acceptable,” Santiago was quoted as saying by The Sun newspaper Tuesday.

The daily’s reporting had been fair and their efforts should not be undermined, he added.

The government last week failed to renew the Tamil daily’s permit, saying it had not followed the guidelines pertaining to not publishing material that would disturb the ethnic balance in the country. Malaysia has a Malay majority and significant minorities including ethnic Chinese and Indians.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who justified the decision, said the newspaper could file an appeal.

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