P Ramakrishnan explains why Aliran has terminated its subscription to the New Straits Times.
As of today, Aliran has stopped subscribing to the New Straits Times. It is a decision that was postponed several times because we felt we had to monitor the mainstream media’s coverage. But the one-sided reporting and the biased coverage have been hard to stomach; indeed it has upset thinking and caring Malaysians.
It does not mean we are now going to subscribe to The Star. We discontinued The Star and Utusan many years ago for the same reason. The Star’s reporting has been even worse than the NST. (But some might dispute this!) We shan’t even talk about Utusan…
Of late, both The Star’s and the NST’s coverage of the political situation has been nauseating. There is a commonality in blatantly misleading the public. Malaysians are misinformed, told to keep their eyes only on one side of the coin and kept in the dark about the other side.
The Opposition is deliberately denied space in their coverage. The Opposition is misquoted and words are added when they were not even uttered. Repeated and strenuous attempts by the Opposition to rebut misleading reporting are totally ignored, unfairly and unjustly.
Journalistic ethics and adherence to truth are no longer sacrosanct. They have gone with the wind. Spinning stories and inventing lies to distort the truth are no longer antithetical to respectable journalism.
According to the deputy chief editor of Utusan Malaysia, Mohd Zaini Hassan, such wanton disgraceful conduct is fine as long as the Opposition is targeted! He calls it spinning and not lying. It looks like it is a declared policy to support gutter journalism!
This reported admission of unethical journalism is revolting and reprehensible. Mohd Zaini made this remark at a forum on social media organised by Biro Tata Negara and the 1Malaysia Social Media Convention secretariat.
Genuine mass media practitioners practise their craft to get as close to the truth as possible. They should never be partisan politicians, but mass media practitioners – certainly never propagandists.
Appealing to the good sense of editors to uphold decency and morality is not going to make any difference. They will remain indifferent and continue to be tools of the Barisan Nasional, dishing out filth and dirt.
The question is, are we going to allow this flippant attitude to continue at our expense? It is only the people who can bring about change.
It is only we who can bring back ethical journalism in the media, throw out gutter reporting once and for all, and stop this nationally detrimental exercise.
If we stop reading the mainstream media, their circulation will suffer. Once the advertisers know about the drop in circulation, they will stop advertising in these newspapers. Then, the owners will be hit hard where it hurts; the bottom-line will turn red due to the drop in revenue.
Editors will come to their senses. In the final analysis, it is the ringgit and sen that is dear to the owners and their editors – not the values or virtues of true journalism.
When this financial flow is cut off, they will have to sit up and behave as they ought to, by paying homage to truth and justice, and give us the respect we deserve as readers and advertisers.
Aliran has taken that first step to deny them the profits they never deserve as propagandists. Are you as readers and advertisers ready to follow suit? (Some readers may already have done so a long time ago.) Together, we can make a difference and turn this nation of ours into a beacon for truth and justice.
P Ramakrishnan, the immediate past president of Aliran, currently serves on the Aliran executive committee.