Editorial Apologies :( Opinion!? Politics QW

Why you should care when The Edge gets shut down?

DISCLAIMER: This will be one of a rare few opinion pieces that will ever be published by CILISOS – i.e. I am writing this story out of my buntut (mostly).

A few days ago, when The Edge published that infamous black-red headline, I knew that things would be heating up for Malaysian media. Their Note from The Publisher literally dared the government to shut them down. To those of you who didn’t hear, shortly after the article came out, our Home Minister ordered The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily papers to be suspended for three months. This applies to their print edition, which unlike their online editions, needs a permit to publish.

The reason given for revoking their license? That the two publications’ reporting of 1MDB were “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest“.

They’ve since released 3 more reasons today. In brief, they’re 1MDB, ‘doubtful, unverified’ info, and 1MDB.

because-1mdb-meme

IMAG1218

This CRAZY money trail for 1MDB made our heads explode halfway, but we’re glad they took the effort to do it

Let’s say this first. While we don’t necessarily condone everything The Edge does (or understand it fully, like the image on the right), what we’re standing for here isn’t their coverage of 1MDB, but THEIR RIGHT to cover. As a democracy, one of the most important things to champion is freedom of information – be it from The Edge, the NST or even Ridhuan Tee.

Media freedom in Malaysia today isn’t as bad as back in 1987. Most publications get away regularly with alot (we’re actually surprised some of them are still around), although there are still taboo words like Rosmah, Malaysian royalty and formerly, Najib, that even we try to tread carefully around.

And don’t get us wrong, media should always be careful about what they publish, but for the greater good of SOCIETY, not THE ONES IN CHARGE.

 

Choosing your battles and your boundaries

Unfortunately, a media company is still a company, and with mouths to feed (350 mouths for The Edge, 5 for CILISOS)… so we’re playing the long game of informing Malaysians, although we do push boundaries when we can.

The_Edge_Financial_daily_cover-July_20-1MDB-Jho_LOW-200715

The Edge has pushed those boundaries further than no other publication has dared to so far. Especially for newspapers, which are much more heavily regulated than online publications such as ours, they really put everything on the line, and for that alone, regardless of disagreements, they deserve the respect and gratitude of ALL Malaysians.

NAH, BACA:
Who are PUTRA, the political party afraid of CNY decorations?

Unfortunately this time, our boundaries have been pushed as well by the Home Ministry. 1MDB should not be a taboo topic. This fund has already admitted to being RM42 billion in debt, with little to show for it, and our Prime Minister at the helm. Doesn’t that sound like something of national concern?

 

So why should you, The Rakyat care?

edward r murrow a nation of sheep

When someone pushes a boundary like this, it’s kind of a test. The Edge pushing their headline was a test to see how the authorities would respond, and NOW, the authorities are pushing to see how we will respond. This is what our co-founder, and ex-EDC of The Star had to say.

All of us in the media are shapers of society. We have a role to play – not just to make money. Money without freedom, without civil liberty is no different from sitting in a high-class jail. Our children live their lives depending on our actions today. We may pay a price for our actions, but so long as our actions are noble, we will have nothing to fear.” – Tan Sri Vincent Lee, Honorary Life President at Association of Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As), CILISOS co-founder.

But the scariest thing for me right now isn’t being closed down – it’s no one caring. What would it mean if next week you, the Rakyat just goes back to reading the next listicle, or sharing the next cat picture?

It would mean that Malaysian media are royally screwed. That us risking our livelihoods has done nothing to spur you into action. So for the sake of promoting free speech and to make us, the media feel a bit better, why don’t you…

*in order of mafan-ness

  1. SHARE this article
  2. Click on some banners at The Edge Markets, which IS online.
  3. Subscribe for RM316 to The Edge Malaysia’s digital editions.

And be prepared to show support when the time comes for it. Cos if there was a time that you could pay media back for all the free content you get delivered to your phone, tablet or laptop everyday, this is it. We need you, the public… TO CARE. Deeply. Because at this point in Malaysian history, we are all #ATTHEEDGE.

Here’s hoping…

#attheedge

15 Comments

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  4. Blah

    28/07/2015 at 12:06 am

    Good luck….

  5. Pingback: Najib punya lawyer’s letter to WSJ… in simple English! [UPDATED] | CILISOS - Current Issues Tambah Pedas!

  6. aaa

    26/07/2015 at 3:12 pm

    The Edge paid a large sum of money to get their information, this is a legal and ethical problem. It brings into question the credibility of the information – you pay someone big money now they have to speak, but do they tell you because they want to tell you, or because they were paid to?

    This is the gist of the issue.

  7. Reload Food

    26/07/2015 at 3:00 pm

    good luck Malaysian~

  8. True Malaysian

    26/07/2015 at 10:26 am

    I am also not an Activist nor a Malaysian now. BUT I do care what’s currently evolving in Malaysia. My personal opinions which doesn’t defer from many – SHUT DOWN the government. Malaysians pay those in governance & ‘elected’ them to take care of the country. Mostly if not all they have abused the trust. What can the RAKYAT do? I leave it to each individual’s thoughts & actions. Peace be with all brothers & sisters in Malaysia irregardless of your ethnicity. Bless you all & yes, bless those in government too.

  9. cheewee

    25/07/2015 at 8:37 pm

    Quote:”1MDB should not be a taboo topic. This fund has already admitted to being RM42 billion in debt, with little to show for it, and our Prime Minister at the helm. ” Yes, 1MDB should not be a taboo topic or any other similar entities or for that matter the government policies. Whether these entities $1 million or $42 billions in debt, as citizens we have the right to know and it is the government in charge who owes us a very good accountability and explanation. No by the MEDIA from reporting, take them to court for misrepresentation of facts or sedition or whatever, but not shutting them down without presenting solid facts and evidence.
    My heart goes to everyone in their organisation for the burden of the next three month, it is a blessing their company is willing to shoulder the burden to pay their salaries, thank you for standing up to responsible reporting. May the truth be revealed.

  10. XEQtor

    25/07/2015 at 6:18 pm

    First they came for the activists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not an activist.

    Then they came for the Opposition members, still I did not speak out—
    Because I was not an Opposition member.

    Then they came for the Media, and I still did not speak out—
    Because I was not in the Media.

    Then they came for me— and there was no one left to speak for me.

    In gratitude to Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller
    (14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984)

    #attheedge

  11. Pingback: Freedom of Speech and Information! | Creator & Curator.

  12. Deric Ect

    25/07/2015 at 3:00 pm

    I care and I’m willing to protest publicly over this matter. We appointed the government to do our bidding and are even paying them a decent monthly salary with our tax money, and they’ve failed to do just that and now it’s going a bit crazy and reminiscent of Little Shop of Horrors.

    • Chak Onn Lau

      25/07/2015 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks for your support Deric! Troubling times indeed. I see it as a litmus test – how much do you love your country?

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