Why black out misleading and incorrect text?

July 19th, 2011 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
 Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe by Email

I always thought that if a publication contained misleading or wrong information, you can ask the publisher to print a correction/apology or sue the publisher later.

So, I’m a bit confused with the article below. First it says the authorities blacked out certain text, then it says the authorities contacted the publisher to black out the texts. Which is correct?

Maybe The Star understood the statements wrongly? Maybe the Home Ministry should black out this article in tomorrow’s paper. Come to think of it, there are many misleading articles everywhere, starting from school text books to magazines, from newspaper ads to posters. Wonder if we have the man power to sift through all those materials and black out those misleading and incorrect texts. Maybe can introduce a KPI for this – number of reading materials vetted. Anyway, the issue is still under investigation, so one wonders, what revelation was obtained to decide that its misleading or incorrect? If the text were to be found correct in future, would the authorities be held responsible for tampering with truth or some other crime?

Anyway, this being the world of Internet, you can read the actual article here:


I’m not sure that readers of the Economist would be easily misled. We are not talking about school kids or illiterate rural folks. The readers can easily get the original copy from the Internet once they see the blacked out sections. It just piques the readers interest.  Not sure which genius thought of this idea in the first place.

The Home Ministry blacked out parts of The Economist’‘s article on the recent Bersih 2.0 rally for being incorrect and misleading.

Its Publications Control and Quranic Text Division secretary Abd Aziz Md Nor said the sentences contained incorrect statements and could mislead readers.

He said the decision to instruct the magazine’s publisher to black out the sentences was made after consulting the police.

“We went through the article and found the incorrect statements.

“Subsequently, we told the publisher to black out those sentences,” he said when contacted Tuesday.

Abd Aziz said they received the July 16 edition about a week before it went on sale for clearance, which, he added, was the normal procedure.

The article chronicles the July 9 rally, including the arrest of more than 1,600 people.

source:  http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/7/19/nation/20110719201159&sec=nation

The blacked out texts were:

– ‘and one man died of a heart attack’, in the first paragraph. [so, how did the man die?]

– ‘The march itself was then banned, although the authorities offered Bersih a stadium to meet in – and then withdrew the offer’, in the second paragraph [wasn’t stadium mentioned?]

– ‘The heavy-handed police tactics have provoked a lot of anger; the government has conceded an official investigation into claims of police brutality. In one instance (caught on film), police seemed to fire tear gas and water cannon into a hospital where protesters were sheltering from a baton charge’, in the fourth paragraph. [not sure which part of this is wrong. the word used was “seemed” for the hospital part. Maybe its the word “heavy-handed”]

Maybe its a good time to revamp the said division. But then again, maybe those officers were just following orders. Just doing their jobs.


Comments are closed.