Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Press Freedom? So much ado about nothing?

This has been a much touted topic recently by politicians from both sides of the political spectrum recently. Press freedom is supposedly one of the cornerstones of a modern functional democracy and something which I believe the majority of Malaysians hope for.

The recent results of the general elections and the role the media has played in it has highlighted the growing credence and power of the alternative media in shaping opinion and thinking. At the same time it has challenged the traditional role and credibility of the
mainstream media.

The problem is that the traditional media is perceived to be biased, unfair and afraid to report independently and subservient to the views of certain political parties. On the other hand, the alternative media, having no such perceived allegiances is thought by many to be more honest, truthful and credible. Having the time these days to do more reading, I must say that there is some truth this. However, not all information found in the alternative media is the gospel truth as well, though people may perceive them to be. It is important thus to take a balanced view.

Despite the ‘noise’ made by certain political figures, having being an avid reader of newspapers since my student days, I can quite safely say that the changes are merely cosmetic. As far as those who walk in the corridors of power are concerned, it is business as usual.

The problem is that many political parties own controlling stakes in the press, MCA included. It has controlling stakes in both the Chinese and English press. As such, the editors and journalists working for those particular papers are ‘beholden’ to their 'political masters' and would have to toe the line or risk facing the sack. With this in mind, how can the press truly be free? How can it ever have credibility when all and sundry know they are owned by certain political parties.

Recently a particular senior MCA leader has been ranting and raving about the importance of press freedom. However it is a well known fact that at the same time he has been ranting and raving in public, behind the scenes he exerts an inordinate amount of editorial control and interference. Articles which are highly critical of him and his ‘special ones’ do not see the light of day(literally). In the rare instance when they are published, what we get is a highly watered down version.

I doubt I have to tell you who this particular leader is. He has very been busy making public statements these days.

I believe that one should walk the talk and put the money where the mouth is. Why talk so much about the importance of a free press while at the same time behind the scenes censoring what comes out? Why hang on to the stakes in these companies if you truly believe in media freedom? Why not divest the stakes and let them report not just freely, but more importantly, fairly? Not everything the press says is what you want to hear when you allow them that freedom. It is important, sometimes to be told what you need to hear rather then what you want to hear.

But the sad thing is that it is still business as usual for this particular leader who firmly believes that charity starts at home and who talks a lot now with no real results to show.


Funniman1965 said...

Datuk Seri,

As much as I respect your position and point of views, I think it wouldn't help much if this blog is used to comment on another politician especially from MCA.

I do not know about others but I am here because I am concerned about Chinese and MCA, not to take sides on internal politics.

God bless...

thquah said...

The problem with MCA is they can talk but when it comes to fairness they always lost out in BN. In almost all negotiations.People now are smart, they how to differentiate. If only there is Press Freedom but not anytime now.How to have press freedom?, when there is interested parties controlling the press they own.

KIMHO8 said...



TJ said...

please save your time and write something meaningfull plz..

such as road block at Bandar Mahkota Cheras?

i thought you are dare but you say nothing at it? pretending you see nothing? or you are just another follower of Umno? what a shame...

TJ said...

please save your time and write something meaningfull plz..

such as road block at Bandar Mahkota Cheras?

i thought you are dare but you say nothing at it? pretending you see nothing? or you are just another follower of Umno? what a shame...

chaptokam said...

OKT and OKC the useless brothers from MCA

Well said, the ISA and OSA should be reviewed . I fully support all people NOT only you , clamouring to have these two out dated laws removed from our constitution , REPEALED , I repeat REPEALED !!!!!, not REVIEWED MR Ong Ka Ting

However no matter how you do it , to me you are still another hypocrite . You do things , say things for your own benefit , if it suits your purpose . The way I see it you are trying to romp up your ratings which currently is way , way below twenty percent , if a poll were to be taken to find out your integrity , capablility . dependability , trust worthyness , etc etc . If a poll were to be taken right now to determine whether you are a running dog or lackey of UMNO I am very sure the results would be over ninety percent , nothing less .

To say that you are a hypocrite , I must substantiate why I said that , ;

To begin with , while you are calling for the ISA to be reviewed , doesn't it occur to you that you also impose the ISA and OSA on the STAR newspaper??

The Star are blocking news of your opponents being published in the STAR newspaper . It is either that or Wong Chun Wai has to get clearance from you before they are allowed to be published , and if they get the clearance they would appear in small columns , hardly noticeable , and without photos .

Does it also occur to you that you have turned the STAR into another MCA mouthpiece ? whereas its not that bad in the other papers like Nanyang , Sin Chew where you still have the influence but not that Control over the Editorial.
Does it also occur to you that thru your lackey Wong Chun Wai that the Star has to print or put your photograph daily in the Star ??? So as to remind people how handsome you are or if there's no news event , they'll put up a photo of your beautiful wife Wendy . Yeah using the Star for personal publicity ,

So the Star is now called MCA publications . At least the NST today has been publishing articles deem critical or constructive critisism of UMNO but never the STAR , all it does is Bodek Ong Ka Ting . They will slash HEADLINES , front page on everything OKT says .

I been told by people working inside STAR , the order or command , a picture of OKT a day will keep the boss Wong Chun Wai away , otherwise the whole editorial gets bashed .

Keep doing it Star and you will see your circulation going down and down and down . We will have our way of getting the message to everyone , thru the blogs , thru Malaysia Today , thru email etc . You can block all our press conferences , you can send your reporters but no print , we have our way .

Remember this Double D Wong Chun Wai as you are called , every cause has an effect , the effect can come in like I said Circulation coming down , even though we have not started a boycott the Star yet . The other can come when Ka Ting goes off , you might have to join him , you and all those appointed to the Star as Directors doing nothing but getting big fat Directorship fees .

So Ka Ting , you can keep on using the STAR as your re-elect Ka Ting newspaper , BUT NOBODYs buying what you say . Its all crap when it comes to your article , nobody believe in you anymore . Almost everyone has negative comments on YOU , ONG KA TING

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