All negotiations in connection with the acquisition of Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd, the publisher Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press, by the MCA whether through Star Publications Bhd. or Huaren Holdings Sdn. Bhd. should be suspended until completion of the Suhakam investigation.
The MCA should also explain whether it is prepared to sign a Charter of Press Freedom to guarantee respect for the independence, professionalism and integrity of the journalists in the two Chinese newspapers and that there would be no political interference of any kind with the news and editorial content and conduct of the two Chinese newspapers in any MCA takeover.
The time has come for higher standards of press freedom, independence and professionalism to be imposed on any press acquisition in the country, although political party ownership and control of the mass media has become very rampant.
But past media practices do not mean that they should be continued or allowed, especially when they constitute daily threats to a free, independent and responsible press which goes against the Rukunegara principle to maintain a democratic way of life in Malaysia.
Working journalists and Malaysians concerned about a free, independent and responsible press in Malaysia should band together to work for the dilution of political party mass media ownership and oppose its further concentration.