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Makkal Osai Wants Explanation On Non-extension Of Publishing Permit

Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, April 18 @ 09:19:46 CDT

Tamil Dailies
KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- Tamil newspaper Makkal Osai on Thursday sent an appeal letter to the Home Affairs Ministry (KDN)at Putrajaya after its application to extend its publishing permit was rejected a day earlier.

Its general manager M. Periasamy said the letter asking the ministry to consider the appeal and explain why it was rejected was sent Thursday afternoon.

A KDN officer told him the outcome of the appeal would be known in one week.

Periasamy said the newspaper's management promised to pay the wages of its 102 staff this month although printing had stopped.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) urged KDN to reconsider its decision to reject the application to renew the permit.

Its secretary-general G Rajasekaran said in a statement that the MTUC viewed the matter seriously as it concerned the future of the staff and their families.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) coordinator John Liu said Makkal Osai had the right to know the reasons for the rejection to facilitate the appeal.

The rejection of the newspaper's publishing permit is causing anxiety among the staff who feared a bleak future.

Sub-editor K.Ellamani, 60, said he has nowhere to go should Makkal Osai cease operation.

"This is the only job I can do," he added.

Security guard R.Batumalai, 48, was visibly shocked by the decision.

"I am already old. What kind of job can I hope to get" he said.

Makkal Osai's permit was suspended for one month in August last year after it printed an advertisement with the caricature of Jesus holding a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other.

CIJ And WAMI Urge Goverment To Consider Appeal By Makkal Osai KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- The Centre of Independent Journalism (CIJ) and Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) have asked the government to consider the appeal by Tamil newspaper "Makkal Osai" whose publication permit was not renewed by the Home Ministry.

CIJ and WAMI want the government to give the paper a second chance.

"We were dismayed with the Home Ministry's decision to reject Makkal Osai's publication permit renewal.

"The ministry's refusal to renew the permit shows no sign of reforming towards greater openness and to be more attentive to the people's voice.

"During the just-concluded general election, Makkal Osai relatively gave more coverage to the opposition and may be this was the reason why the daily was punishment for.

"The paper usually published more pro-government stories before the election but changed its trend...a sign of the strain due to the uncertainty of its permit approval," they said in a statement.

-- BERNAMA********** Makkal Osai ban and ‘open ears’ don’t sit well together Friday, 18 April 2008 Aliran
Charter 2000-Aliran is appalled at the Home Ministry’s rejection of a permit application by the Makkal Osai management - which is presumably due to the Tamil daily’s coverage of the Opposition besides giving the BN wider coverage. This makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s post-election promise to keep all ears open to comments, criticism and information that might serve as useful feedback to the federal government. Even more confounding is that the Home Ministry’s action suggests that important lessons from the electoral results - one of which is that the party didn’t feel carefully the nation’s pulse on the ground - have been lost on the ruling BN, Equally disturbing is that the ruling BN seems to have recoiled to its old fossilised self, refusing to respond and adapt adequately to the new political realities. It is still incapable of appreciating the importance of freedom of expression and of the media. The Home Ministry should take note of the Information Minister’s recent remarks that the credibility of the mainstream media has been perceived by the general public as wanting.  We call upon the government to grant the publishing permit to Makkal Osai without delay. In fact, the government should repeal all restrictive media laws and institute a Freedom of Information Act in the near future.     Dr Mustafa K Anuar & Anil Netto Coordinators, Charter 2000-Aliran 17 April 2008



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