We have too many dailies already, both for pro and anti-government and we need to avoid more confusion among the rakyat should more of them are allowed to operate without observing the stipulated law and provision.
Most important is to regulate stiffer penalties on those who breach the terms and conditions of the permit.
KUALA LUMPUR: The publication permits for two online dailies were rejected to prevent confusion among the public, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Thursday.I think the number of dailies in the country is sufficient to disseminate news. Some are even running out of steam due to stiff competition, shrinking readership and advertisement, unless the paper is fully-sponsored and distributed for free.
"It may be seen that the news published may have the tendency to be sensationalised and controversial to attract the readers," he said in a written reply to Datuk Johari Abdul (PKR-Sungai Petani) who asked why the publication permits for FZ Daily, Malaysiakini and Suara Keadilan were rejected.
According to the Home Ministry, the publication permit for Suara Keadilan was rejected as its contents were against the Printing Presses and Publication (Amendment) Act 2012.
It said the publisher did not reply to a show cause letter, thus contributing to the delay in the decision of the publication's application.
Last year, the Court of Appeal dismissed the Home Ministry and the Government's appeal against a High Court judgment that Malaysiakini portal operator, Mkini Dotcom Sdn Bhd, be issued a publication permit.
This meant that Malaysiakini could resubmit an application to the Home Ministry for a publication permit.
It was reported that Malaysiakini CEO Premesh Chandran said the company would pursue the matter with the Home Minister.
FZ Daily's newspaper permit application by Edge Communications Sdn Bhd's was approved in August last year but the Home Ministry deferred the permission a week later.
It was reported that the ministry did not respond to a letter by the company seeking reasons why the application was deferred.
The Edge then filed a judicial review against the deferment of the licence approval and on Feb 5, it was granted leave by the High Court to challenge the decision.
However, hours later, the Home Ministry in a letter dated Jan 21 rejected the application.
In 2010, Suara Keadilan was given a show cause letter over a controversial article it had written on Felda in one of its publication. The same year, the Home Ministry had also issued three show cause letters to the newsletter.
Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi can also start investigating some tabloid newspapers that operate without permit; there are quite a number of them.
Newspaper industry is feeling the pinch ever since Internet was introduced. Worldwide and censored news are easily available for free at a faster rate, while advertisers too are getting the 'kick' from putting up their ads on the social media.
We also need to protect the industry by limiting the number of players, don't you agree... while those who applied for the printing permit are neither pro-government!