Yes, a free Press is essential to democracy. I agree. That's exactly what columnist and ex-diplomat Dennis Ignatius wrote in the Malaysian Insider.
He was attacking the Star for himself and for human rights (what?) activist Marina Mahathir for a very simple reason. One or two lines from their original article for their respective column in the newspaper were 'taken away' by the editor. That made them so angry.
For that, they accused the Star and other pro-government media of not practicing Press freedom. And for that also, they turned sour grapes!
The Star has given that column to Marina for 23 years now. The column is one of her best available platforms to shoot herself to fame, especially in the eyes of the Opposition - home and abroad - and those who support absolute freedom.
Hey! I do support human rights groups. I like freedom of the Press and human rights groups but I still cling to my faith, my religion. Tell me of any religion which allows or encourages same sex marriage or sex outside wed-lock? Which? Can't hear you!
If you can answer that, then I will rally support for such a freedom or human rights cause. I promise!
O-oh... this Dennis. He used to beg for a column in the Star. Not many people knew him then until the Star gave him that opportunity to portray himself as a prolific writer under the label 'freedom of the Press'.
I don't think he understands much about free Press because he resides in Canada and not Malaysia. He has forgotten that Malaysia is the only multiracial and multi-religious country in the world. We are a chronic case for its many sensitivities.
There is free Press in Malaysia but Malaysians, including most of the journalists are well aware that racial and religious issues could be turned into a time-bomb should then pen inciting articles about inter-racial hatred and inter-religious confrontation.
I am sure most Malaysians (except a small quarter who finds excitement in streets demo and stirring the peace and stability) would like to live in harmony, earning a good living and free from any kind of trouble.
I wonder whether these people give total freedom to their kids and next of kins - practicing free sex and proud to tell others about it. What about the rights of drug addicts? Why isn't there anybody take the lead to fight for their cause as free sex, LGBT and drug addicts come together. And instead of asking the 'government of their choice' to build more schools, it would be better to erect more hospitals to treat them!
And what's wrong for the editors to edit their writings? Are they so perfect that their article cannot be altered or edited?
We have the set of law to follow but any law can be amended. But not the teachings of a religion... and all religions.
Absolute freedom will be a disaster for a country like Malaysia, for Dennis' info. Similarly, the elements of human rights too should have a limitation. Unless you want a 'free for all' country, which is also part of the rights for some crazy people.
Any kind of freedom must have a certain degree of controls. Its not easy to build a nation and instil the spirit of mutual respect between people. It takes a lot of sacrifices and, or course, it was time-consuming but its easy to tear it apart.
Marina is Malay and a Muslim and I believe Dennis is a Christian, two religions that put manner and order above all. I appreciate their work and contribution in their respective discipline but let's be moderate about it.