Absolute press freedoms?

The interesting thing about Squatgate is that its brought to a surface a host of secondary issues: national immigration policies, anti-Chinese sentiments, and, most recently, the questioning of press freedoms. Noh Omar said something stupid in front of the press yesterday, the PM’s office made a call to squash the story, a story of that magnitude refused to be squashed, and today, the PM had no choice but to acknowledge it and censure Noh.
Did the PM’s office do the right thing in calling the major dailies to overlook the story? Or is this another case of the media being unfairly supressed by the Government?
It really depends on the context and purpose of the PM’s office “request”.
1. Was it done to save Noh’s ass? To ensure the Opposition has left ammunition to play with in its current and future confrontations with the ruling party? What is a selfish request, one meant for political self-preservation?
or, was it:
2. A genuine attempt to save the embarrasment of the COUNTRY? Already tension is building daily between China and Malaysia over the issue — the fire did not require any further fuel from a rogue statement by a man who has already proven himself woefully inadequate to handle the situation.
Just like any other freedom we enjoy, its difficult to argue that press freedoms are absolute. I think there should be some common sense in its application, and while the press exist to keep the people informed of what’s happening in our country, on rare occasions, it has a responsibility to protect the country as well. The difficulty is in the determination of when the latter is to be applied.


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