— The Malaysian Insider
Feb 17, 2013
FEB 17 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote today about the media – and how governments were able to exercise control through licensing and laws.
But then came the alternative media, or rather online media, he wrote, ironically, on his blog which is online.
“In the alternative media just about anyone can put anything they like to say on the internet directly, with no managers, editors or sub-editors changing any of the contents. The freedom is almost total. This is the essence of democracy?” he says.
Thank you, Dr Mahathir. Your views are always welcome because thanks to you, we are here. Without your foresight, the internet would have taken its time to come to Malaysia.
But your hindsight is another thing. You speak of the alternative media where anyone can put anything, without checks and balances.
Perhaps you are speaking about bloggers. Or those in the print and television media who put out news without verification or even a comment from the other side.
Take for example the recent cases of Utusan Malaysia and TV3, both controlled by your party Umno. Their editors have admitted they don’t verify claims, paraphrase comments and will even lie to make their party look good.
Contrast that with news portals like Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider.
We have editors and sub-editors and reporters who are asked to check and counter-check and verify reports in real-time, unlike print which has a 24-hour news cycle and television where the prime time news bulletins is broadcast at 8pm.
And we have made mistakes and have been sued. But we have apologised when mistakes are made and have also gone to court.
Because, no matter the medium, there are some of us in the media who are professional and have integrity. We write facts, not fiction.
And we are only as good as our next byline.