While Malaysiakini reported "Raja Petra called for questioning", DPM Najin reminds all website operators to be fully responsible for their website and should not take government's tolerance as a license to slander the government.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 (Bernama) -- Website operators and journalists are again reminded that they will not escape the country's law if they create tension among the people of various races and religions in this country.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said they must be fully responsible for their website and should not take the government's tolerance as a licence to publish anything in the name of freedom of expression without considering the social implication.
"In the name of freedom, these websites allow slanders, lies, vulgarity, insults and chauvinistic materials to be published. The freedom to write and express opinion has its limit as provided for in the country's law.
"This development is unhealthy. Although the government is very tolerant with regard to the anti-government stand and criticisms expressed in the websites, we are deeply concerned about the insulting statements against a particular religion as well as the racial sentiments which could cause racial unrest.
"The government is responsible for social harmony and we will not allow any group to jeopardise national solidarity and create racial unrest," he said at the Malaysian Press Award Night 2007 organised by the Malaysian Press Institute, here tonight.
He said website operators must demonstrate a responsible and meticulous attitude because as writers, they must appreciate the aspiration of Malaysians to build a peaceful and stable country.
He said the irresponsible attitude was contradictory to the strict professionalism maintained by media practitioners and went against journalism ethics which advocated correct reporting, objectivity, fairness and obtaining information from official sources.
Najib said the government was worried about the development in the alternative media because some of them were managing their columns based on personal opinion and inclination without considering the racial and religious sensitivities in the country.
"Journalists must obtain correct facts and report accurately. Any report and visual or photograph carried must reflect what is actually happening," he said.
However, despite these developments, journalists remained as the resources that transformed information into news reports and features, thus serious emphasis on training them in the short and continuous term was crucial so that they would continue to maintain strict professionalism.
Journalists must also understand certain issues which formed the basis of nationhood especially those which were sensitive, and those who had forgotten history would be lost and it would be difficult to find the way forward to attain greater progress.
"Malaysian journalists, whether representing the mainstream media or the new media organisations must look at history as the guiding principle in churning out various genre of reports namely news, features, commentaries, interviews and so on," he said.
He said disputes over differences in religion, culture and custom in the media would not resolve the problem but could lead to disintegration and quarrels if not dealt with properly and with responsibility.
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