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Ignore press freedom ratings, says information minister
October 20, 2007

Ignore press freedom ratings, says information minister

Malaysians and other Asians should ignore the press freedom ratings made by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as the body is not a judge on local values, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said Friday.

He said the ratings were based on the Western values of press freedom, which were mainly driven by the market and money.

A recent index announcement by RSF saw Malaysia's ratings falling to 124th spot this year from 92nd in 2006 while Singapore took 141st spot from 146th previously.

Zainuddin said in a statement that he lauded Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew for fighting the Western values of press freedom and winning against London's Financial Times (FT) newspaper recently.

On Wednesday, FT apologised to Lee and other members of his family and agreed to pay damages for false allegations contained in an article which appeared in the FT Weekend's Sept 29 issue.

Zainuddin said: "For me, the only language understood by the Western media is when their pockets are hit."

By taking legal action and winning the case, he said, Lee had proven to the world that the Western media valued money more than press freedom.

He added that it also showed that the market controlled the value of press freedom preached by the Western media and not freedom in the real sense.

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