Posts Tagged ‘Media’

How to trust the mainstream media?

September 3rd, 2010
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Today PM Najib said something, which sadly, can be interpreted as humor/satire/joke.  Just compare the two articles below. The Star’s is about half the length of the other article. I think the alternative media had more “facts” in terms of quoting the PM compared to Star (OK, its just one example). I don’t agree that mainstream media presents fact and such are more trustworthy. Sometimes, one  can choose which facts to present, or present “facts” in certain ways so as to craft the perception of the reader.  I firmly believe we need mainstream media, alternative media, independent writers, the casual bloggers, forums etc to present a more holistic view. Putting trust in mainstream media is surely a grave mistake.

Nowadays, alternative media also carries Bernama news. And, government can choose to publish their advertorials, scholarship info, job vacancy info, tender info, statistics etc in alternative media, which will increase the “fact” quotient.

Not to forget, regardless of whichever media, we find cases of issuing apology for “misunderstanding” or “miscommunication” or for wrongful reporting. So, both groups can and do make mistakes.

BTW, for me mainstream media does not include the sorry excuse for a newspaper,  Utusan.

This is what mainstream media Star published (taken at 11.50pm):

The public should trust the mainstream media as it is fact-based, compared to the opinion-based alternative media, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said some of the articles published on the alternative media, such as websites and blogs, were “half truths and inaccurate”.

“The mainstream media has one strength which cannot be found in the alternative media, and that is the mainstream media can be considered fact-based.

“If we read the mainstream media, we intuitively regard it as an authoritative report, where its facts cannot be questioned,” he said at a breaking of fast ceremony at the New Straits Times Press headquarters here Thursday.

“There must be a discerning public who can see the strength of the mainstream media,” he added.

This is what alternative media Malaysian Insider published (taken at 11.50pm):

Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the public tonight to trust the mainstream media and not the alternative media which are based on half truths.

The Prime Minister said that mainstream media should be considered as an authoritative news source that can be trusted.

“In the development of the media today, the market is different from the market in previous years. Now we are faced with the alternative media which has been a direct competition to mainstream media like NST.

“However, the mainstream media has one strength which cannot be found in the alternative media and that is the mainstream media can be considered as fact based,” Najib (picture) said when attending breaking of fast with the media at The New Straits Times Press headquarters here.

He said that the mainstream media is different from alternative media because the former is fact based while the later is opinionated.

“If we read the mainstream media, intuitively we regard it as an authoritative report where its facts cannot be questioned.

“Its principles are based on facts and this is different from blogs and websites which can be developed for personal use and can literally become a one-man show,” he said.

He added that alternative media published reports based on opinions which are “half truths and not accurate”.

Recently a poll by the Merdeka Center showed that six out of 10 Malaysians don’t trust the mainstream media.

The June 27 to July 25 survey commissioned by a research organisation showed that 57 per cent of Malays polled said they did not trust reports in the mainstream media, while 33 per cent trusted the media and 10 per cent said they did not know.

As for the Chinese community, 58 per cent said they did not trust the mainstream media, 30 per cent trusted and 12 per cent did not know.

A total 590 Chinese and 413 Malays as well as five focus group discussions with Chinese voters in Peninsula Malaysia were involved in the survey.

The findings will provide sober reading for many mainstream media organisations. Recent circulation figures show that English and Malay-language newspapers like New Straits Times, The Star, Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia have all suffered significant drop in circulation this year compared to 2009, with some as severe as 20 per cent.

Privately, newspaper executives note that partisan political coverage has hurt sales.

Comments from the focus group discussions also showed that many felt that there is limited media freedom in the country because of the practice of censorship.

Some participants in the focus groups also pointed out that Malay-language newspapers were the most biased.

Najib stressed that the public must be able to differentiate between mainstream and alternative media reporting.

“The public must be discerning and can differentiate between the strength of the mainstream media, which has a place in the era of ICT and access to website and blogs which are opinion based.

“I urge the mainstream media to continue to hold its principle as a paper based on factual based reporting with opinion which are constructive and educated,” he said.

Minimum Wage plan postponed due to low blog feedback!

June 23rd, 2010
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I’m not sure if Malaysian Insider wrote this story correctly, because the answers just don’t seem to gel. Why did the blog generate only 77 response? You can try searching in MOHR website and let me know if can find any link to the blog because I certainly can’t find it. Maybe the blog is hidden somewhere? Found the blog here but the poll is closed!

Secondly, we are talking about minimum wage for “LOW INCOME” workers. Can a blog be the best to tool to gauge their response? Our broadband penetration still not over 40%, and people not really have MOHR website bookmarked.

Or is the blog meant for employers and the middle/high income employees to respond?

I think there should have been other ways to get response from target group. Could have paper-based survey during many of the goverment events like 1Malaysia youth program at Bukit Jalil, concerts, by-election areas, and so on. definitely would have got more than 77 replies.

They could have even talked to Income Tax department to include a survey when employees file their returns via e-filing in April. If just 30% of 1 million tax payers responded, you’ll get 300,000 responses!

Pity the security guards.

Despite strong calls from many quarters, including the MCA, the government announced today that it was shelving a minimum wage policy due to poor public feedback.

Human Resources deputy minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan told Parliament that the government had only received a total of 77 responses from the public since March this year.

“The ministry launched its blog on March 24 this year to obtain feedback from Malaysians on the proposal to introduce minimum wages.

“Until today, the ministry has only obtained 77 responses,” she said when replying to a question by Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang),

Maznah said that of the 77 responses, 70 or 91 per cent agreed with the proposal, about three per cent disagreed and 6 per cent were indifferent.

The feedback is too small for us to implement the policy, especially in comparison with the over 11 million workers in the labour force nationwide.

“It is not representative of the number of workers,” she said.

She added that the ministry would continue with its blog to obtain more feedback as well as to organise a three-party workshop in mid-July this year involving workers’ associations, employers associations, academics and government agencies.

“Whatever feedback we obtain from the blog and the workshop will be used as input for the government’s consideration,” she said.

In a supplementary question, Charles slammed the ministry for deferring its decision to introduce minimum salaries for security personnel to 2011 although it was set to begin on July 1 this year.

“It is important for the nation. The government had decided to introduce the policy but suddenly, this was a retracted.

“This is like one step forward and three steps back. From what I have read from the news, I see that this shows that the government is afraid of the private sector, especially the security firms that have been urging the government not to introduce the policy,” he said.

Charles asked if the government had the “political will” to introduce minimum wages for the country, especially in view of the New Economic Model’s target of achieving a high-income status for the country.

In her response, Maznah said that the Cabinet had on January 13 this year instructed the ministry to study the proposal to introduce minimum wages.

“For your information, your accusation that we are frightened of the private sector and that we have no political will — this is just a perception typical of the opposition.

“The introduction of minimum wages involves many processes and many ministries. It involved the communication between the ministries and other important parties like the workers unions and other associations,” she said.

Maznah pointed out that a single policy could not be used for all sectors.

“We need to have a proper, detailed study, which would include making comparisons to other countries as well,” she said.

In another supplementary question, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor) asked Maznah for the ministry’s plans in improving the wages of the labour force.

“About 40 per cent of the labour force earn less than RM1,500 monthly and 75 per cent of them are the bumiputras from Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Maznah said that the 10th Malaysia Plan programmes provide ways and means to improve the welfare of the labour force.

“We are also looking into ways and means on how to lessen our dependence on foreign labour as well as how to improve the skilled workers force.

“Our target is to raise our 25 per cent of skilled workers in the workforce to at least 50 per cent,” she said.

new newspaper Uthaya Surian hits the streets

May 4th, 2010
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Well, I try look on the bright side and have this to say: at least we have more pages to read, if we want to.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 – A new Tamil daily, started purportedly with the blessing of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, hit the streets yesterday, making the small Tamil readership field crowded with four dailies, each having its own distinctive political interest, with the exception of the middle-of-the-road Malaysian Nanban daily.

The Uthaya Surian (Rising Sun), despite its name, is an afternoon paper and available in the central region on the same day of publication and nationally on the next day.

The publishing licence is believed to be held by Indian Muslim businessman A. Tajuddin and was obtained during the time of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Its editor is Tamilmani @ P. Veerasamy, a controversial editor who went to jail in his decade-long crusade against MIC president Datuk S. Samy Vellu and the alleged hijacking of the nine million Telekom Malaysia shares.

After gaining notoriety as an anti-Samy Vellu editor, Tamilmani worked with various weeklies, none of which succeeded.

He also flirted with the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), publishing various anti-Barisan Nasional (BN) monthlies, none of which took off in a big way.

More recently Tamilmani joined forces with his former nemesis Samy Vellu who continues to cling on to power although the MIC fared disastrously under his stewardship in the 2008 general elections.

Tamilmani is also executive editor of Samy Vellu’s Tamil Nesan daily, the oldest in the country and first published in 1924.

He is wearing two hats as editor of Uthaya Surian and his provocative writing style and argumentative politics is reflected in both dailies, readers and observers said.

“In fact Uthaya Surian is really Tamil Nesan 2,” said a hardcore support of Datuk S Subramaniam, whose inner circle controls the Makkal Osai daily which is rabidly anti-Samy Vellu.

The circulation of the Tamil Nesan plunged to about 5,000 from a high of 9,000 in the 1980s, MIC insiders said, suggesting that the drop was due to it being used as a unvarnished mouth piece of the Samy Vellu family and his interests.

“A great newspaper that was helmed by giants of Tamil journalism has gone down the drain because of cheap politics,” said a Tamil lawyer who follows local Indian politics keenly.

“Tamil Nesan had great editors like Murugu Subramaniam,” he said, referring to the member of the famed Chettiar family which owned and managed the daily before Samy Vellu bought it over on becoming MIC president in 1979.

Uthaya Surian is closely linked to Samy Vellu and his faction in the MIC. Not only does it have the same editors but also the same staff and premises.

The Tamil Nesan (M) Sdn Bhd prints the Uthaya Surian daily and both operate from the same premises. They even have the same telephone and fax numbers.

Tamilmani introduced himself in the inaugural May 1 edition as the Uthaya Surian editor with a page two editorial under the title “Uthaya Surian will shine new light in people’s hearts”.

It had a front page story with a photo montage of Samy Vellu and MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel face to face and nearly embracing under the headline “MIC leadership transition only in 2012”.

Tamil Nesan and other mainstream national dailies and Internet news websites might have written off Samy Vellu but in the MIC, the new mantra is 2012.

Samy Vellu and his coterie, Palanivel included, are pushing the idea that “newspapers have no business” to tell Samy Vellu to quit.

“Samy should complete his term right up to 2012. I will surely support it,” Palanivel is quoted as saying in the inaugural edition.

The MIC was roiled after the Utusan Malaysia quoted Palanivel as saying, in the aftermath of the Hulu Selangor by-election victory, that he was ready to take over but that Samy Vellu had to make way.

The story sparked speculation that Palanivel was about to unseat Samy Vellu by mobilising grassroots support, something that Subramaniam’s supporters are hoping for so that they can wade in and pick up the pieces after the battle.

In fact the Makkal Osai daily under their control has been publishing provocative stories which, allegedly, attempt to pit Palanivel and Samy Vellu against each other.

Palanivel quickly moved to dampen the strategy and assure Samy Vellu’s supporters by giving nearly identical exclusive interviews to both Tamil Nesan and the new Uthaya Surian dailies pledging “undying” loyalty to Samy Vellu.

“We are together… we cannot be separated. Our relationship will continue,” the dailies quoted Palanivel as saying.

The talk among the reading public is that the new paper seeks to exploit the journalistic skills of Tamilmani to win a readership and then gradually eclipse, and possibly replace, the Tamil Nesan daily.

In a front page foreword Najib wrote that he was confident the new daily would reflect the aspirations of the Indian community with skill and responsibility and give voice to the desire of all citizens to come under his 1 Malaysia umbrella.

Straight contest in hulu selangor

April 20th, 2010
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The two independent candidates have pulled out from the by-election contest, so its a straight fight between Kamalanathan and Zaid. I think this favors BN since the independents would have grabbed some votes from pro-BN voters.

Saw interview of Kamalanathan by Ahmad Talib in TV3’s Soal Jawab from 10pm till 11pm. Looked very rehearsed. Kamalanathan spoke Malay well, related his childhood, challenging working life and background which will make it easy for the rural area and those from low income background to relate to him. Good strategy. Kamalanathan talked about studying via correspondence, making some wrong decisions in choosing subjects, working in Sg Siput for about RM450-RM500, and so on  – things that can do well to highlight his humble background.

BUT, most disappointingly, there were not tough questions for a future MP to answer, just a “you ask, I answer” routine. Why talk about building UiTM campus? Why not UM or UPM, USM or any other of the IPTAs campus which will be open to all races? 1Malaysia ? Hmm… He also highlight one important point – Hulu Selangor has lots of land which BN can make use of (yup, he said that) to develop the place.  But what about sustainability? What kind of development is envisioned? How about environmental issues? He also mentioned about basic infrastructure (I presume its water, house, roads, electricity) as the main area of concern. Indirectly its pointing back to BN.

TV3 showed Kamalanathan making roti canai today, and having breakfast at a stall. Still no signs of Zaid in the prime time news.

I also remember Shafie Afdal talking in TV3 news about some “views” from the Orang Asli community regarding the upcoming law on land. Wah… it sounds totally different from what I read in the Sun the other day.  If the Orang Asli campaign well, can see BN lose significant votes here.

Hindraf meanwhile has given both candidates a list of things to be done, mostly involving proof in writing. They urge the voters to vote for the candidate who can fulfill the pledges.

Meanwhile, the “good news” about MAIKA shares takeover is losing its shine already. Vel Paari said it will take some time, and as some shareholders pointed out, the takeover will reimburse the invested amount, but what about the dividends and return from the appreciation of the ringgit? RM1 20 years ago will be worth much more now.

Today also saw PKR Hulu Selangor treasurer quiting PKR and joining UMNO, which may be the one that DPM Muhyiddin was mentioning yesterday. Another headache for PKR.

Election Commission removed offensive banners today, so hopefully the election will focus on benefits instead of personal attacks from now onwards.

Bigwigs like PM Najib and Tok Guru of PAS will be starting their work only towards end of the week, so not sure how this campaign will turn out. I feel more tricks will be pulled out of the bag by both sides as things get critical.

My feeling: BN still having upper hand as of today.

Malaysiakini clarifies on Muhyiddin small fry phrase

April 15th, 2010
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I’m not sure if the below is an apology or a thinly veiled explanation. Thus their title of “clarification” is justified kot?

On April 12, Malaysiakini had attributed certain remarks to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a report on the interfaith panel, in particular the phrase ‘small fry’.

In denying he had used the phrase, Muhyiddin clarified that he had not spoken in English during the event – a press conference in Rawang.

We wish to clarify that the phrase ‘small fry’ was our translation of his comments in Bahasa Malaysia, interpreted in the larger context of his statement that (paraphrased here):

  • the committee is not a council or commission;
  • it has no decision-making power; and
  • it has an administrative role under the Prime Minister’s Department.

In fact, the Utusan Malaysia online report of April 13 quotes the DPM as saying (our emphasis in bold):

“Sambil menasihatkan semua pihak supaya tidak bimbang dengan penubuhan berkenaan, Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata, ia hanya sebuah jawatankuasa kecil yang tidak akan memutuskan sebarang keputusan berhubung undang-undang atau dasar berkaitan semua agama yang ada di negara ini.

“Ia dibuat di bawah pentadbiran Jabatan Perdana Menteri (JPM) supaya wakil di dalamnya boleh duduk berbincang. Saya tidak fikir ia akan mengamalkan dasar mengutuk perkara berhubung keagamaan. Ia cuma membuka ruang untuk semua bertukar pandangan.

“Tujuan pokoknya untuk mewujudkan persefahaman. Jawatankuasa ini tidak boleh memutuskan sebarang perkara kerana hasil perbincangan akan dibawa semula ke JPM untuk dijadikan panduan penambahbaikan perpaduan antara agama dan kaum,” katanya.

The DPM has since accused Malaysiakini of ‘acting with bad intentions’ and of ‘twisting the facts’.

We wish to put on record that there is no hidden motive in our coverage of events or in presenting the facts. Any misinterpretation of the DPM’s statement is regretted.

For me, they just summarised in few words what the DPM said in few sentences. The meaning is same but I do agree however that the summary (small fry) sounds like acting with bad intentions. Wrong choice of words by MK this time, and should apologise.  The impact is quite bad as religious leaders feel offended by the words. It can be easily spun out of control and thought as insulting religions. Another show cause letter for MK on the way?

Koh Tsu Koon already mentioned that the panel/committee will only discuss issues and put forth suggestions/findings to cabinet. So, what can we do the fellows in PERKASA still have problem understanding things? Laugh at them? Cry for them? Thank God we are not like them?