malaysiakini welcomes the news with "Gov't backs down, Herald gets new permit" but if we consider how the problem was created by the authorities it does not augur well for our progress towards a more open democratic nation.
You see newspapers editors have to constantly walk a narrow path that does not venture into criticising government leaders and policies too much or they can run foul of the printing laws that require your publication to renew the annual printing permit.
So this so-called backdown by the authorities is not good for the following reasons:
1. It allows the so-called mini-tyrants holding power to create mischief by placing unjust conditions on your permit.
2. It creates really unnecessary work for the top leaders who should be using their energy on more important issues.
Unless our top leaders really need this kind of problem that allows them to appear "as heroes", we should practise a more sensible application of these laws as follows:
1. The PM should be advised by the appropriate minister only if any new conditions are to be imposed on publications long before it becomes an issue.
2. Permits should be granted for at least 2 years as publications can still be persecuted if they run foul of any law.
As we herald in the New Year let us pray that the spirit of enlightenment will enable our leaders to realise that they need to reduce this type of unnecessary aggravations to the national fabric that already has many tatters.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to YOU ALL!