Kuala Lumpur: The National Press Club of Malaysia (NPC) has expressed its full support for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in their pursuit for Meta and Google to bear the costs related to journalism.

Datuk Ahirudin Attan, president of the NPC, emphasised the importance of consultation in guaranteeing that media professionals in the country can practise journalism freely and impartially.

“As a journalist, I would like to thank MCMC for doing this for us,” said Ahirudin, following MCMC’s discussions with Meta and Google that took place at the commission’s headquarters in Cyberjaya yesterday.

“We have, over the years, both individually and collectively, asked the Malaysian government to take this matter up, and look at what the Australians are doing. Our voices were rather muted then, perhaps it was our fault for not being united in facing this issue.

“Now, MCMC is fighting the battle for us … ironically, this comes at a time when the commission is being attacked by some senior editors for its supposed handling of online platforms.

“I hope the same editors will credit MCMC and the authorities when they help us. They don’t do that often, but this is an example of the authorities and journalists wanting the same thing. We can disagree on matters of principle, but it’s always important to communicate,” he added.

In a recent statement, a group of seasoned journalists shared their concerns with the MCMC’s practice of calling on media organizations to explain their reporting.

The commission outlined its responsibility to address a number of issues, such as the spread of false information, offensive content, and slanderous content. They emphasized that they had to take action because there had been a troubling increase in irresponsible, insensitive, and inaccurate news reporting in recent years.

During its recent meeting with Google and Meta, the MCMC expressed its intention to collaborate with the Communications and Digital Ministry in order to rectify the disparities in advertising revenue between traditional media and digital platforms. The aim is to ensure a fairer competitive environment for local media.

Australia and Canada’s methods of ensuring appropriate compensation for well-established and reputable media organizations were alluded to.

“Look, I’ve been called in by MCMC in the past, its officers have raided my house, even taken my laptop. I’m looking at this not as an armchair critic, but as someone who has been subjected to such scrutiny. But we’ve always found solutions.

“Why am I saying this? Here’s an example of both parties wanting the same thing, but it looks like the authorities (MCMC) have beaten us to it, and it’s okay.

“We want MCMC to push the envelope to convince these guys (Meta and Google), and make them finally pay for our journalism. This is our blood, sweat, and tears, and we have been robbed in broad daylight.

“My thanks to MCMC. Well done, and we will support, and be behind you on this. But when it comes to our freedoms, please consult with us before taking any action,” Ahirudin added.

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