There is no ‘absolute freedom’ for media: Badawi

May 28th, 2008 - 6:16 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 28 (IANS) Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says there is no such thing as absolute freedom and that the media should not be ashamed of “self-censorship” to respect cultural norms. His support to what he termed as “ethical journalism” came even as his Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said that the government had decided to enact laws to engage bloggers in the cyberspace.

The prime minister said different societies held different values, and while “it might be acceptable in secular countries to depict a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad”, it was clearly not the case in Malaysia.

He was referring to caricature of the Prophet in Denmark, its defence by the Scandinavians and the worldwide protests it generated among the Muslims. He was speaking at the Asia Media Summit 2008.

Badawi said his government continued to support “ethical journalism”. Its fundamental consideration was to have a media that was “not only free but also responsible”, The Star newspaper said Wednesday.

He said the government also wanted the media not to undermine racial and religious harmony. “I do not see these laws as curbs on freedom. Rather, they are essential for a healthy society.”

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