Monday, September 24, 2007

Malaysia's Misreporting Media

Guys, if you want to know how the local mainstream media reports activities by the DAP, then there is no better example than what happened last week with regards to the case of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin who was brutally assaulted and murdered.

See the image of the basket of flowers published on 19 September (Wed) on page 4 of The New Straits Times (NST) below?

Well, the caption says "One family's message, one nation's grief for the brutal death of an unknown child."

That for your information is an outright lie by the NST editors. The basket wasn't placed there by "one family" but by a delegation led by the DAP Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng.

Not only did they lie about the origins of the flower basket and its message, they also doctored the photo. On the top right hand corner of the message card is the telephone number of the florist (where the flower basket was bought) printed in large fonts (see picture of by The Sun below). It "disappeared". What I'm less certain about is the fact that at the bottom right corner of the message card, "Democratic Action Party" both in English and in Chinese was written. This may have been blocked by the bear, although whether it could have been blocked in its entirety is the question.

The following is another picture on the same page, with 2 ladies who work for the DAP Rocket publication.

You can see Sdr Ronnie Liu, myself and YB Teresa Kok in the background. NST has very responsibly captioned the picture as "A bouquet and a soft toy are left where the girl's body was found." Clearly, it was too much to ask for NST to publish pictures of the key DAP leaders placing condolence basket but is it ethical for NST to avoid crediting DAP members, even when they are not key leaders?

If something as non-political as placing a condolence bouquet and expressing the anger of Malaysians at such brutality can demand such clearcut distortion of the truth in our venerable newspapers, then what can you expect when we raise other more "sensitive" issues such as ministerial and governmental corruption, abuse of powers and incompetence. For your information, the Chief Editor of NST was notified of the misdeed, but no response, apology nor correction was issued.

The Sun too, placed the picture of the flower basket on its front page on Wednesday last week, headlined by the contents of the message card itself - "Malaysians will not let you die in vain."

Again, there was no credit to the photo and no context provided. At least the paper didn't print a blatant lie or attempted to doctor the picture. However, credit must be given to the Sun for printing the context to the picture the next day, Thursday, after belatedly realising the mistake made, although no pictures were reprinted.

And what about the largest circulating English daily, the Star? Well, a reporter was certainly assigned to the story, but unfortunately for her, since the story will place DAP in a positive light, her work went straight into the thrash can. I am actually highly sympathetic to the English press reporters who do turn up at our press conferences (not all, but some) but who would find that their efforts to file a story completely wasted. The only consolation? At least the Star didn't attempt to capitalise on the picture or tell a lie. They just pretended that it wasn't important enough to publish.

Hence it is not surprising that many members of the public, particularly those who read either just the English or worse, the Malay dailies, think that the opposition parties like the DAP doesn't do much til election day. I can tell you with confidence that the party does a great deal throughout the year, all around the country. For the unbelievably limited resources that we have, we are clearly punching way above our weight. Unfortunately, our reach has been limited, with the exception of reaching out via the Chinese press which provides a little more room for us to publicise our views and activities.

So, if you want positive change, let the newspapers and the Government know by writing to them, or voting "correctly" in the next general elections. Or even better, do your part by helping out with DAP's party activities or if you are in the Klang Valley, help me out. You know how to reach me ;)
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