Time to Free the Mass Media


Journalism as a career is not an easy one in Malaysia. The mass media structure within which journalists work does not encourage them to live up to ideals they all know they should have. On the contrary, they fail their calling to serve the public and end up handmaidens of the powerful.

Tears came to my eyes when I was watching a documentary on Martin Luther King, Jr recently. This always happens when I watch programmes or movies portraying the struggle for ideals. More important, it struck me that the legendary civil rights leader was able to help bring about the end of racial segregation in America and win equality for his fellow African-Americans, not only because of his hard work and determination, but also because the mass media acted freely and independently in their coverage of his struggle.

When King led the protest against segregation in Montgomery in 1956, triggered by the courageous act of Rosa Parks in refusing to give up her seat in a bus for a white passenger, the media was there to cover it, causing the issue to be publicised nationwide.

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