KUALA LUMPUR, 29 March: DAP today launched its free internet TV channel, Ubah TV even as the ground heats up ahead of the 2013 general election. At the launch by DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng in the DAP Headquarters this morning, members of the press were treated to a preview of a mock-up television screen seen to be inside the eye of the hornbill mascot.
Lim said the TV channel was launched as a response to the ruling Barisan Nasional government’s near total monopoly of media.
“We rely on Ubah TV to break the monopoly of lies and distortion by BN. We are not sure if we can break it but we must create a space for all parties to give their views and perspectives,” he said.
“10 minutes on RTM is not media freedom”
Lim who is also Penang Chief Minister, pointed out that the mainstream media is controlled by the government and does not offer the right of reply to parties other than the government. He added that the media often used lies and spin to defame and smear DAP, PKR and PAS leaders and their parties with false accusations.
“Instead of reporting both sides of the story, they (Information Minister Rais Yatim) offer us 10 minutes airtime to campaign for the election. We do not ask for 10 minutes, we want the right to defend ourselves against the lies, abuse and defamation hurled against us on prime time TV everyday.”
According to Lim, Rais’ offer of 10 minutes airtime to opposition parties is an insult to democracy and press freedom. He stressed that if the government was serious in practicing true media freedom, the right of open airspace and fair reporting should be a continuous and long term effort.
DAP, PKR and PAS have rejected the 10 minutes offer on the basis of these principles. However, MCA has chided the parties for snubbing the offer, saying that 10 minutes is “more than enough” if the opposition has a “solid” argument.
Lim begged to differ, saying that issues of media freedom and democracy should not be treated like instant noodles.
“What can you do in 10 minutes? You can only cook maggi mee, nothing else. Democracy is not like cooking maggi mee,” Lim jested.
Lim stressed that jostling for media space was not a competition to see who could come up with more falsehoods or hurl more accusations or sow more hatred.
“We want a chance to explain our policies which bring hope to all Malaysians,” he said.
Let Najib appear on Ubah TV
“We would like to invite Prime Minister Najib Razak as the first guest on Ubah TV. He can come to debate with Anwar Ibrahim, or he can come alone.”
Lim stressed that Ubah TV would strive to give a chance to their detractors to appear on its TV programs according to the principles of fairness and accurate reportage.
He hoped that in telling the truth, Ubah TV would offer a reliable source of alternative media to the people, especially during the upcoming 2013 general election.
This would help the people make an informed choice with the correct information, he said.
“In order to make an informed decision about which party to select, voters must do this based on facts and truth. So we want to make the truth known and the truth will set us free,” Lim said.
Also present at the press conference were DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua, DAP Assistant National Publicity Secretary Teo Nie Ching, DAP National Treasurer Fong Kui Lun and DAP Deputy Chairman Tan Kok Wai. Lim appeared shy when asked to greet viewers at home who were watching the launch being broadcasted live on ubah.tv , he jokingly attributed the awkwardness to the fact that he was “not a TV star”.
Viewers can expect to see live footage from all around the nation from election campaign activities, pre-recorded interviews, special focus analysis and coverage of the election results as the news breaks. The internet TV channel will run around the clock during the general election. Viewers can access the station at ubah.tv or follow the station on twitter @ubahtv -The Rocket