Freedom of speech comes with social responsibility

National 1 minute, 17 seconds


THE government has warned local media not to report stories that mock the country’s leaders and raise issues that can lead to the opposition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) ideology.

Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dato Paduka Hj Abd Wahab Juned said freedom of expression is fundamental, but “not an absolute right” in Brunei.

Speaking during the PMO’s Raya gathering with about 100 media personnel and government public relations officers, he said chaos and discord could ensue if the balance between freedom of expression and responsibility towards public interests is not kept.

“The government is responsible for ensuring the local media is responsible, professional, ethical, pro-unity, supports good governance, fair and sensitive at all times for the safety, well-being and integrity of the country.

“The government is consciously responsible for determining the balance between freedom of expression and the responsibility towards public interests,” the deputy minister added.

He went on to say that freedom of expression is highly dependent on faith, socio-cultural and national contexts.

Even though freedom of expression is universal in nature, it is not practised in the same way everywhere, Dato Hj Abd Wahab said.

He added that human life is not only about freedom of speech. It consists several noble objectives in living within a country: to share prosperity, peace, unity, security and justice.

“In the media, we are not solely determined by our commercial interests. Interests and welfare of the public is one of the noble objectives of the government,” he added.

The Brunei Times