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Media Censorship around the World

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Media censorship is not an unusual phenomenon around the world, as it has been disapproved by right groups since ancient times. It had originated in ancient times when rulers and religious leaders imposed limitation on the press, with an aim to stop them from spreading information which might turn against them, and the activities conducted by them. Regardless of the differences in geographical location, religion, culture and the tradition, the motive for censorship has remained the same. The most widely used methods to control media are licensing and enacting laws which effectively restrict the freedom of press. Countries like Syria, Zimbabwe and Vietnam have laws and regulations that effectively limit the freedom of press and impose severe restrictions on journalists. Freedom House, an international human rights group, labels these countries as ‘not free’ as the governments impose several restrictions on the press and journalists. According to Universal Declaration of human rights, “freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without any obstruction and to gather, find and reveal information and ideas through any media regardless of any frontiers”. In Malaysia, freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 10(1)(a) of Federal Constitution, however, it is restricted by clause 2 of article 10 and article 4(2)(b). This essential human right is distorted and restricted through different act including Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Official Secrets Act 1972, Sedition Act 1948 and others. Freedom of Press in Malaysia is associated with the existence of law governing the press. Several laws governing the press in Malaysia limits the press freedom in the country. Malaysia was ranked 146th arou...

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...han beneficial for the state. Although Article 19 of the UDHR ,which states that everyone has the right to freedom, does not create a binding effect to Malaysian law, Malaysia as a member of the United Nation should abide by this vow (Lim,2007). Newspaper publishers are restricted from writing fair and accurate information due to the strict regulations and government ownership of the firms thus misleading the public. Also, the government can misuse the laws that restrict the freedom of expression for their own political benefits.Wang (2001) argued that in order for Malaysia to remain as a democratic society; the press should have the freedom to write and criticize without fear from the government. Though the press may exploit their freedom to express, there is no reason for the Malaysian government to restrict them with regulations that only benefits the government.
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