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The media — love it or hate it

“All these websites have been irresponsible in their reporting. If you report responsibly about Umno’s leaders, then we will allow you to come in. But the way they report is sickening.”

UMNO secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, on the party’s decision not to issue press tags to six online media organisations to cover the 59th Umno general assembly. (Source: Internet media barred from Umno, The Nut Graph, 24 March 2009)

As the general assembly got underway, however, the red-coloured press tags proved to be less crucial than expected, as officials did not check for them, except for certain press conferences.

While Umno is unfriendly towards new media, as a political party, it is a private organisation. And other political parties have also barred the media from covering their events. For example, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) routinely bars Utusan Malaysia reporters from its press conferences on similar grounds.

“We should be welcoming the new media. This is the trend of the future. We need to open our doors, if not we will be flooded with rumours and poison-pen letters.”

New Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who called the party’s banning of online media as “strategically an error”. (Online media should be welcomed to cover assembly, say duo, The Star, 26 March 2009)

Umno supreme council member Dr Puad Zarkashi recognised that the internet-based news outfits were “still getting information from their own sources”, and said the ban would contribute to the perception that Umno was not for everyone. “Let them write about us, but it is up to us to be articulate to defend the party.”

“Everything we say is going to be misconstrued intentionally. That’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

Defeated Umno Youth chief candidate Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir. Mukhriz backed Tengku Adnan’s decision not to issue the Umno press passes to new-media organisations. (Source: KJ is all for new media, Mukhriz is not, The Malaysian Insider, 25 March 2009)

We are always open to criticism, and are prepared to reply to criticism, though they may be harsh and baseless, because we believe in press freedom.

DAP chairperson Karpal Singh. He styled Penang chief minister and party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s ban of the New Straits Times (NST) from state government events as “improper”. “If he (Lim) believes in press freedom, he should consider withdrawing the directive imposing the ban.” (Source: Karpal Singh Wants Penang Ban On NST Lifted, Bernama, 28 March 2009)

The Penang state executive council unanimously decided to ban the NST from covering state events and news conferences beginning 20 March. According to Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P Ramasamy, this was because the daily had allegedly published libellous reports about the state government.

As opposed to a political party, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-led Penang government is a public body.

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2 Responses to “The media — love it or hate it”

  1. Eric says:

    Hard to believe Mukhriz or Tengku Adnan. BN controls directly (Star, NST, Utusan, Berita Harian, etc.), through the state (RTM) or indirectly (all other media) through the repressive licensing laws. Malaysia is the only country I know where ruling political parties control the largest newspapers. Yet they have the gall to accuse the media of bias!

    BN politicians have shown the height of hypocrisy. I hope they are not religious as they would have a tough meet with their Creator in the after-life.

    Kudos to Karpal who, again, displays an all-too-rare brave integrity.

  2. tengku mohd faizal says:

    Eric,

    Perhaps you can try Cuba, the only country I know where nobody controls the media, yet the president alone can decide what comes out on the media, and they can accuse other country of media bias, especially the US media and they are very vocal about it.

    I am just giving you the other side of the story.


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