The price of free speech

By Hwa Yue-Yi

In his commentary on the National Union of Journalists’ proposed “fair reporting pledge”, former MySinchew editor Bob Teoh urged journalists to refrain from unethical reporting. He noted that fair reporting might come at a cost, whether in increased union dues or decreased chances of promotion.

Teoh’s sentiments about both the possibility and the price of high-quality journalism apply more generally to public expression in Malaysia. Free speech isn’t cheap. It yields immense benefits — from tangible efficiency gains to the abstract value of liberty — but demands a number of inputs, whether from newsmakers or the rest of us. Here are some of its costs. Continue reading “The price of free speech”

National identity is not a race

By Hwa Yue-Yi

NEW year, new you? Not if you’re national identity in Malaysia, it would seem. We ended last year with disputes over Article 153 provisions for bumiputera special privileges and began this one with discussions of a Race Relations Bill, hurtfully racialised statementsethnocentricelection strategising and accusations of religious subversion.

Said Zahari’s 1969 poem comes to mind: “Once again / Colour, race, religion and language/ Become sharp blades/ To use in the carnage.”

Here’s an idealistic wish for 2012: Continue reading “National identity is not a race”