Ministry wants RTM Sarawak to explain press boycott allegation

Shakib fielding questions from the media.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 19: The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia wants Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) Sarawak to explain claims it was prohibited from providing coverage of events in opposition-ruled Sarawak.

Its deputy secretary-general (Policy), Shakib Shakir, said today the Ministry was not aware of this issue.

“But what we will do is ask RTM Sarawak specifically to come up with an explanation on this (allegation) to see the direction to take on this matter,” he told reporters after opening the Cyber Crime and Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Talk at Auditorium RTM here.

He was responding to the disappointment expressed by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah over an alleged guideline from the ministry that forbids RTM from providing coverage to states under opposition rule.

Abdul Karim has yesterday complained about RTM for not covering his press conference to announce the 117th Malaysian Amateur Open golf championship to be held in Sarawak from June 18 to 23.

He said he could not shake the feeling that opposition states in the country were being sidelined by the national broadcaster.

He also said he would have understood if RTM boycotted politics-related press conferences or programmes but not when it was related to something like golf tournaments.

However, Shakib reiterated that there was no directive or guideline for RTM on covering events and programmes in opposition-held states, including Sarawak.

“I think, in all fairness, RTM Sarawak should provide coverage for all events,” he added.

Last month, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo had clarified that the ministry did not issue any directives or guidelines to RTM on giving coverage to states under opposition rule.

He said he had been informed that the decision on coverage was the result of RTM’s state-level internal discussions and not due to instructions issued by him or his ministry. — DayakDaily