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Three RTM talk shows stopped due to restructuring

KUALA LUMPUR, 4 Nov 2008: Three talk show programmes aired by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) have been temporarily stopped due to restructuring of RTM programmes.

In explaining this, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said they had not been stopped due to participation by opposition leaders and bloggers whose views are critical of the government.

“This should not be an issue as this is part of the plan to restructure RTM programmes,” he told reporters at RTM’s Quality Day award presentation in Angkasapuri, here.

He was commenting on the move by RTM to stop the What Say You, Bersemuka Dengan Media (Face to Face with the Media) and Bersama KSU (With the Secretary-General) programmes.

Ahmad Shabery also said that it would be “dangerous” if people viewed the matter from the racist point of view.

“When What Say You (a Chinese-language programme) was stopped, people made noise but when the other two programmes were stopped, including Bersemuka Dengan Media, nobody complained, even though they also contained comments critical of the government,” he said.

He said the situation was similar to cases involving detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“If five or six non-Malays were detained under the ISA, people would make noise, but if 50 Malays were detained, they wouldn’t say anything,” he said.

He said that in the restructuring, there would be programmes which would be shelved before RTM come up with new look and concept in January.

“There will be swapping of programmes between TV1 and TV2 and we will also be looking at the ratings,” he said.

Ahmad Shabery said in terms of ratings, the What Say You programme was ranked 337th compared to other talk shows despite being aired at prime time.

Bersemuka Dengan Media is ranked slightly better at 283rd but we asked it to be stopped because we want talk shows which are rated highly so that they can measure up to the competition from other stations,” he said.

He also denied that the talk show programmes were censored.

“There were encores with subtitles and for each talk show, especially if it involves ministers, the transcript will be distributed,” he said.

Meanwhile, asked to comment on the remark by former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim that the Malay supremacy concept had a negative element that was racist, Ahmad Shabery said anyone was entitled to his or her opinion about the issue.

“What is important is sincerity. Let’s see who is sincere, who is doing the best for the people,” he said, adding that the concept had wider meaning and could be traced back to the history of the Malay rulers. — Bernama


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