Media News - Thursday, October 04, 2012
A Malaysian court Monday overturned a government ban on plans by an online news portal to publish a newspaper, in what the site's lawyer called a "landmark case". Independent portal Malaysiakini has over the past decade become a leading source of information in the Southeast Asian nation, where major newspapers and broadcasters are largely government-linked. Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled the government had not acted within its power and its refusal to grant Malaysiakini a printing permit was "unreasonable", said Edmund Bon, who represented the online portal. "It's a landmark case; it's historic," Bon told AFP. "It will open the floodgates because the court has recognised that the granting of a permit is a right, not a privilege as the government has said." All newspapers in Malaysia need a permit to print, allowing the government to control them and putting publishers under pressure to toe the line. Malaysiakini and other online media have remained relatively free - despite occasional raids, bans and government criticism - due to an official pledge not to censor the Internet, made in the mid-90s to attract foreign investment. Malaysiakini, which has about 2.5 million readers a month, wanted a newspaper to complement its online content and reach a wider audience. (AFP)
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