Political parties may promote manifestos on RTM for GE13, says Rais
KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Political parties will now be allowed to promote their election manifestos through Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said the decision was reached after a Cabinet paper on requests by political parties for equal airtime to promote their respective manifestos received the nod of ministers.
“As the arguments were based on Article 10 of the Federal Constitution pertaining to rights and freedom of speech, the Cabinet paper was accepted.
“...Pursuant to this, when the Dewan Rakyat is dissolved and the Election Commission announces the campaigning period, political parties will be allowed to promote their manifestos through RTM or other broadcasters during the campaign period,” he said when opening Wisma Berita RTM and launching RTM’s news portal and digital archives at Angkasapuri here today.
He, however, did not state how much airtime would be allocated or the conditions that must be met in order for the political parties to be given such access.
Rais (picture) said what has been decided for now was that the parties would be given limited time to explain their manifestos on a selected RTM channel.
He said in providing the facility, RTM would make it incumbent that they adhere to certain conditions which could follow what was practised in the Commonwealth and advanced countries or tailored to RTM’s needs.
“For example, in England, the BBC gives 10 to 15 minutes for parties to promote their election manifestos subject to certain internal conditions. It is the same with Singapore and Thailand and the latest, Myanmar, with conditions acceptable to all the parties.
“Obviously, with this decision, various questions will arise and views will be forwarded. Nevertheless, the government will keep an open mind but the bottom line is that the facility has to be structured and based on the concept of broadcasting for the nation,” he said.
Rais, however, stressed that as a government broadcaster, RTM had to give priority to broadcasts related to the government and matters of importance to the people.
The Malaysian Insider/Bernama
06 June 2012