KAJANG, March 21 – The government’s openness towards press freedom has given the people the opportunity to get more alternative opinions, whether from the social or the mainstream media, Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said. He said the government, through its own news agency, had been open in inviting opposition leaders to share their insights and opinions in its various programmes. It is aimed at enabling the people to assess and obtain information without being too dependent on alternative media, he told reporters when attending a ceramah at Hulu Langat NGO Secretariat operation room here Thursday night. The minister said the move to allow live telecast of the Dewan Rakyat question time on national television, for example, was part of the government’s transformation to be more open and transparent.
“This is part of the government’s transformation to be more open. With this, we believe that the people will be wiser in their judgement and believe in press freedom,” he said. Shabery, who is also an Umno supreme council member, said the government’s openness clearly differed from the attitude of the opposition, which claimed that they were championing press freedom, when at the same time, their leaders were the ones who barred mainstream media reporters from covering their events. The ceramah was held in conjunction with the Kajang by-election scheduled for Sunday, where Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun is facing a straight fight against PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.