28 February, 2007

Stop shrinking our intellectual space

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) expresses support and solidarity for the efforts of an acclaimed local filmmaker and a writer who are challenging the government's attempts to stop Malaysians from accessing their works. The filmmaker, Tsai Ming Liang whose film titled " I don't want to sleep alone", was recently banned, is appealing the decision while K. Arumugam is challenging the ban order of his book "March 8" in court.

Tsai, a Malaysian filmmaker based in Taiwan received a letter dated Jan 31 by the National Censorship Board informing him that his latest film is banned. Among the reasons cited are that it portrayed the unsightly side of the capital city Kuala Lumpur and affected the
government's ongoing tourism campaign. Tsai's film won an international award in the Spanish Film Festival.

K. Arumugam was reported to have filed an application on Feb 24 for judicial review against the Internal Security Ministry. His book "March 8", a Tamil language book detailing the 2001 racial clashes in the suburban Kampung Medan, is among the 17 titles banned since Dec 2006. The list also include the Indonesian version of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species", translated by F. Susilohardo Basuki Hernowo.

In banning Tsai Ming Liang's film, which talks about urban poor and the haze in Kuala Lumpur among other issues, the government is punishing a filmmaker who engages with the local problems, rather than engaging in the problems themselves.

Similarly, the government engages in whitewashing history by prohibiting the publication of research on the Kampung Medan incident. It is noteworthy that the banning of a Bahasa Indonesia version of Charles Darwin's classic "The Origin of Species" shows that the Malay-speaking community, the ruling coalition's largest constituency, is being denied information available to those fluent in English.

CIJ calls upon the government to lift the bans on all books, repeal the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA) which legalizes book banning and to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on communication rights.

The Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia (CIJ) is a media organization that aims to improve current Malaysian journalism practice and independence through advocacy, research and analysis, training and practical work. Started in 2001, CIJ has initiated various projects in developing grassroots communications skills through training, infrastructural support and direct action.

Issued by Sonia Randhawa
Executive Director

Women's International Day

We are looking for people who are interested to participate in a
studio discussion to coincide with Women's INternational Day on 8th.
We wil be organising a studio discussion two days before, as we will
be submitting to a global collection of audio recordings for the theme.

The discussion topic is "Has polygamy been accepted as a norm in the
Malaysian society?"

Date: 5th March
Time: 7pm
venue: Radiq Studio, CIJ office
Duration: 25 mins

Pls call our office at 40249840 to inform us if you'd like to attend
or drop an email to thanam@cijmalaysia.org.




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