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Probe into Malaysiakini story depends on police report, says Syed Hamid

PUTRAJAYA, 21 Oct 2008: The police will only investigate Malaysiakini’s misleading report on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak if a report was lodged.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said this when asked to comment on the internet news portal which uploaded an article on 19 Oct, purportedly from a ‘Najib Support Group’ containing a so-called manifesto supposed linked to the deputy prime minister.

The news portal has since apologised to Najib. The journalist who uploaded to story has also since resigned after accepting responsibility for the error.

Speaking to reporters at the Immigration Department’s Aidilfitri celebrations held here, Syed Hamid said Malaysiakini’s apology was insufficient as it should be accountable for its publication.

“If you keep on putting in false reports and then you apologise, that’s not good…I think the media has to be equally responsible for what they are doing,” he said.

Yesterday, Najib’s office denied that he had issued the manifesto, and the report published by Malaysiakini therefore, was “patently false and misleading”.

Meanwhile, deputy minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said the ministry would not issue any warning letter to the news portal on the issue since Malaysiakini was not a formal media which needed a publication licence.

He said, what was more worrying about the issue was the nature of the reporting being practised.

“Whether you are the so-called mainstream media or alternative media, the basic thing is the same, and that is responsible journalism…and responsible journalism dictates that you must verify a statement before you publish it. This is lacking,” he added. — Bernama


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