Archive for category Media
By Kee Thuan Chye
The Heat is back. I wouldn’t say, with a vengeance, but certainly with plenty of critical substance for the reading public to think about. And well-researched information that is essential for every citizen.
On the front page of the newsweekly’s comeback issue of February 8-14, it vows to continue to “speak up against corruption, injustice and the forces that seek to divide our nation”. And its inside pages carry enough fire to show that it has not been cowed by its seven-week-long suspension by the Home Ministry.
Indeed, one of its top articles is headlined ‘It’s time for greater freedom of the press’. Although one might quibble that the headline is not quite accurate because you can’t have greater freedom when there is no freedom to begin with, the body of the article clearly spells out where The Heat stands on this issue. And quite rightly, too, because it is this lack of freedom that caused its suspension. Read the rest of this entry »
Feb 14, 2014
Before Einstein, everyone thought light travelled in a straight line, but the mad genius came up with the theory that light could actually bend.
Our ever-ingenious Umno has come up with the same reality-bending formula that explodes previous sane assumptions. And their mathematical flair explains why Teresa Kok’s innocuous Chinese New Year video is deemed insulting to the Malays, the royalty and Islam. Indeed it is. One only needs to get a crash course in Umno logic, which is far more mind-bending than anything Einstein ever thought up.
To put it simply for us simple-minded ordinary non-politician folk, Umno is the sole defender of the 3 Rs – Race, royalthy and religion. Therefore, anything that insults Umno, by mathematical equation, equals an insult to the 3 Rs. Sounds complex? Well, get a fake doctorate and study the theory of Umno relativity and you will better understand the logic.
This is why Kok’s video is deemed an insult of the highest order. It pokes fun at Umno, hence it is equivalent to poking fun at Malays and even the royalty. Even when it pokes fun at the Chinese, the targets are Umno-linked Chinese, which means they are poking fun at Umno, which means… get the hang of it? Read the rest of this entry »
Shame of shame! Worst setback to Najib’s “best democracy in the world” claim with Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index falling to the lowest point in nation’s history, even below that of Myanmar
Shame of shame! This is the worst setback to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “best democracy in the world” claim with Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index falling to the lowest point in nation’s history, even below that of Myanmar.
Malaysia already plunged last year to a historic low of No. 145 ranking out of 179 countries in the 2013 World Press Freedom Index – the worst since the start of the annual index by Reporters Without Border (RSF) in 2002.
Malaysia fell by 23 rungs last year, as it was ranked at 122 in the 2011/2012 Press Freedom Index.
In the latest 2014 World Press Freedom Index just released, Malaysia fell further to 147 out of 180 countries, two places behind Myanmar which climbed from 151st ranking to 145th position this year.
ASEAN nations which outperformed Malaysia include Brunei 117, Thailand 130, Indonesia 132 and Cambodia 144 and Myanmar 145. Philippines is ranked 149, Singapore 150, Laos 171 and Vietnam 174.
Malaysia’s World Press Freedom Index 2014 would have been more abysmal falling even behind Philippines and Singapore if the government’s latest press freedom repression had been taken into account, i.e. revocation of the publishing permit for FZ daily, hours just after the publisher The Edge Communications Sdn. Bhd. was granted leave to initiate proceedings against the Home Ministry for deferring its initial approval of the permit. Read the rest of this entry »
Mine! Mine! Umno Vice President and Minister for Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal seems to make himself a bigger fool and is now digging a bigger hole for himself.
I feel enormous sadness that we have Cabinet Ministers who cannot be humble and admit that they have made mistakes.
Let me tell the UMNO Ministers that there is nothing wrong with them admitting that they have made mistakes, and that in this case, Apdal had wrongly accused DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok’s video “Onderful Malaysia CNY 2014” of lampooning the Malaysian security forces and the Lahad Datu intrusion tragedy.
After all, UMNO Ministers are mere mortals. Even Homer nods!
Apdal’s mistake is all the more understandable and excusable as he did not understand Mandarin or Cantonese, the languages used in the video dialogue, and he could only have heard a garbled, inaccurate, biased and tendentious version of the video from his colleagues in the Barisan Nasional, whether MCA, Gerakan or Liberal Democratic Party, who have political axes to grind. Read the rest of this entry »
by KJ John
Jan 28, 2014
First there was the assertion that there exists an attempt by Christians to make Penang a Christian state; simply because the chief minister is reputed to be a Christian. No evidence was ever found or elicited for these unfounded rumours. The perpetrators of the crime were not charged. I believe they were Umno-linked bloggers.
Now there are ‘Jesus the son of Allah’ banners which, frankly, no Christian would ever make. The reason is simple: If we do, the whole sentence would be in Malay; never in English with the Arabic ‘Allah’ word. What will come next? Maybe a ‘Melayu balik kampung’ banner which then sparks another round of racial riot rumours, or pig-heads into mosques?
These were standard tactics since 1969 in Penang but it was stopped in good time because of the then chief police officer’s (CPO) quick response and actions?
But he was an outstanding Special Branch (SB) officer well-trained in the matters of psychological warfare, but there are no such people any more, since our communist threat is no more. Our current CPOs are only of one race and religion.
Today, police officers appear to pursue their partisan agenda against both citizens and foreigners alike. People are losing faith in the so-called ‘not-so-royal police force’, but which however does not act against Umno extremists. Selective persecution and prosecution seems the order of the day today. Read the rest of this entry »
January 27, 4014
First, it was kangkung (Chinese water spinach), then came sotong (squid). And together, these two cheap food items made for an unfortunate two weeks for Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.
It began when Najib lashed out at critics two weeks ago for blaming the government when food prices go up but not praising it when prices come down. He made the argument that the government could not control market forces, and used kangkung to illustrate his point.
It was an unfortunate choice that immediately stirred a backlash on social media. Kangkung is seen as a cheap vegetable that grows in unappetising places like drains.
Najib’s message was soon lost as netizens invented a huge range of jokes – from McKangkung burgers to kangkung-fuelled cars – to mock him for apparently asking them to downgrade their lifestyle.
Last week, sotong came into the picture as he sought again to explain market forces. Speaking at his monthly address to the finance ministry, Najib reiterated that the government could not control the price of every food item.
“When it is the monsoon season, prices of fish go up and even vegetables,” he said. “I had used the kangkung as an example of the supply-demand principle. My favourite foods are kangkung and sotong.”
This addition of sotong to the dish proved irresistible to netizens as “sotong” is colloquially used to refer to a person who is confused or weak, triggering a second round of jokes. Read the rest of this entry »
All are welcome to the Tuesday dialogue in KL on what is the most rational response to the escalation of racial and religious polarisation in Malaysia in the past eight months after the 13th General Elections so as to create another May 13
I have initially decided on a dialogue session at DAP Hqrs (4th Floor) at Jalan Yew, off Jalan Pudu Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 28th January 2014 at 8 pm with netizens and social activists after reading a joint statement by 83 young activists and writers urging me to retract my statement asking the PKR Penang State Assemblyman for Machang Bubok Lee Khai Loon to consider apologizing for the “flash mob” demonstration where kangkung was stuffed into the mouth of a cardboard cutout of the Prime Minister as they alleged that I was bowing down to the intimidation of “racists and political hooligans”.
Clearly, these young activists and writers signatories to the joint statement could not have read my statements in full or in detail, or had thought through the entire problem from all sides as to make such a call, and a dialogue session with them would be useful, as it is will provide an opportunity for an interaction where they could hear my views and I can benefit from hearing their standpoints.
The big issue involved however is not just about the “kangkung phenomena”, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Lee Khai Loon or about any one personality, but about the escalation of the racial and religious polarisation in Malaysia in the past eight months after the 13th General Elections, where an irresponsible and reckless group had enjoyed immunity and impunity to incite racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension so as to destabilise the country and create another May 13 racial riots to achieve their petty, selfish and even traitorous political objectives. Read the rest of this entry »
K Pragalath| January 14, 2014
Free Malaysia Today
Netizens make fun of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s endorsement for water spinach.
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s endorsement for the fall in the prices of water spinach (kangkung) continues to prompt Malaysian netizens to join the fray to “support” the premier’s endorsement.
A page called Hari Kangkung Sedunia has been created on social networking website, Facebook while Jan 13 is now officially declared World Kangkung Day.
Among others the page speculated that major fast food outlets would have to rebrand some of the popuar selling products, citing as examples Kangkung Fried Chicken, Burger Kangkung and McKangkung.
The endorsement for kangkung have gone viral via a 1:24 minute on YouTube. The video with 44,235 hits is a result of combining two video clips. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
The public forum ‘Bebaskan Media/Free the Media’, organised by Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) and held in Kuala Lumpur last Friday, packed a full house and signified something positive – the coming together of journalists to speak up for media freedom. What is now needed from this talk is an action plan.
It seems to me that the crux of any action to be taken would be to fight for the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA). And the time to take action would be now, amidst the white heat generated by the Home Ministry’s suspension of the news weekly The Heat, under the provisions of that Act.
This suspension is, however, done without good reason, and has thus provided journalists with a just cause. For The Heat has indeed broken no laws to deserve such punishment. And as such, journalists must show up the ministry’s whimsical use of power and expose the insidious implications of the PPPA, and strive once and for all to break the Government’s tyranny over the media.
To do so, however, they must be united. And the fight must involve journalists from the print media as well as they are the ones directly affected by the PPPA. Not only that, these journalists should hail from publications of all the main language streams.
Unfortunately, their presence was sorely missed at Friday’s forum. Of the six speakers, none was a print journalist. Three of them came from the online media, which is not subservient to the PPPA. In fact, the online media is free from censorship, thanks to a promise made by the Government years ago that it would not censor the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »
Najib should intervene immediately to restore publication licence to The Heat before it becomes the tipping point to plunge Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index to the lowest point, even below that of Myanmar
Before the end of the year of 2013 in five days’ time, there is another pledge that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should honour – his pledge to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.
Nobody whether in Malaysia or outside really believe Najib would transform Malaysia into the “best democracy in the world” but the least they expect Najib to do is not to backslide on his specific promise of democratic reforms.
The suspension of the weekly, The Heat, would be one such unacceptable instance of Najib reneging on his specific promise of democratic reforms to unshackle the press from authoritarian restrictions of the Mahathirish past.
In fact, Najib should be moving forward to repeal the Printing Presses and Publications Act altogether to remove the requirement for the licensing of publications.
The Home Ministry has claimed that Najib is not behind the suspension of The Heat and that the suspension is not related to the report in the weekly titled “All eyes on big spending PM Najib” published for the week of November 23-29.
Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
December 21, 2013
The Home Ministry has now denied that The Heat (pic) was suspended over its reports of a profligate administration but rather it was because the weekly had violated provisions in its printing permit.
If anything, that defence raises more questions than answers for Putrajaya. After all, was it a coincidence that a show-cause letter was only issued after the November 23 to 29 edition on hefty spending on travel and consultants by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak?
“This decision was not linked to The Heat’s recent report regarding the prime minister, and any accusations to the contrary are without merit,” a ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.
The spokesperson said the suspension resulted from the publishing company violating provisions mandated under its printing permit, the Journal reported.
Home Ministry sources told The Malaysian Insider that the permit given to the publisher was for the publication of a magazine and not for newspaper printing.
Well, The Heat is a weekly newspaper and in some circles, that is a magazine.
More importantly, when did the ministry find out that it was not a magazine? It has had a run of 15 editions since entering the marketplace on September 6, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
The scourge is upon us. The Government is getting unreasonably authoritarian by suspending the publishing licence of the news weekly The Heat. We are seeing the beginnings of a return to Mahathirism, to the culture of fear that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad imposed on us. It’s time to nip it in the bud before it gets more grim.
I call on the media and all journalists to do their part to stop the tyranny against media freedom. Stand up and take back your right to freedom of speech and expression. Push for the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) which accords power to the Home Ministry to grant and revoke licences.
A friend of mine who works in the media suggests a sympathy strike by all journalists, with media owners in tacit support. Is that doable? Or is it too much to ask? Read the rest of this entry »
NEWS ANALYSIS BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
December 20, 2013
Putrajaya’s transformation programme took a step backward yesterday when the Home Ministry suspended The Heat weekly, most likely for its November 22 lead article that focused on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s spendthrift ways.
While such reports are commonplace in online news portals, The Heat’s article hit too close to home as it was in print and came at a time when Putrajaya had cut fuel and sugar subsidies while higher electricity tariffs, toll charges and public transport fares were on the cards as public funds were tight.
Putrajaya insiders say the Home Ministry took action as the report made the PM look bad, which is an unwritten out-of-bounds marker in the local media scene.
“You get a permit to publish, so you must know your parameters even if you want to be critical,” a retired newspaperman told The Malaysian Insider.
“This is just a warning not to overstep the boundaries even if the PM can be quite liberal about such things,” he added, noting that the government is more concerned about print rather than online media. Read the rest of this entry »
– Kee Thuan Chye
The Malaysian Insider
December 17, 2013
The relatively outspoken weekly newspaper The Heat has been given a show-cause letter by the Home Ministry and reportedly told to tone down its fervour. And this has come about only three months since the paper sparked to life in early September.
This shows how tightly the Government still controls the media, and how difficult it is for any print publication to be critical of the ruling party. It also blows to bits the promise that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made in September 2011 that he wanted to establish in Malaysia “the best democracy”. Unless, of course, he has a radically different understanding of “democracy”.
The online news website The Malaysian Insider had reported that the action taken by the ministry was believed to have been prompted by The Heat’s front-page article on Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor’s “spendthrift” use of public funds – on overseas trips, utilities in their official residence, the hiring of consultants, the use of the Government’s private jets, allocations for the Prime Minister’s Department. Read the rest of this entry »
BY TESSA HOUGHTON, GUEST CONTRIBUTOR – 17 NOVEMBER 2013
If people use the mass media to inform themselves about their society and about the performance of their politicians, and if they use this information to direct their political choices and participation, then inadequate or inaccurate information is liable to result in misconceived political acts. (Street, 2001: 257)
Malaysia’s 13th General Election (GE13), held on the 5th of May 2013, was the continuation of a historical arc that begun at the 2008 general election (GE12), when the Barisan Nasional (BN), Malaysia’s ruling coalition for the past fifty-six years, lost the states of Penang and Selangor (and Perak temporarily) to the Opposition, as well as their coveted two-thirds Parliamentary majority. This was an unexpected shock to the system that immediately plunged Malaysia into an anticipatory political fervour. After 5 years of delays, civil unrest, and an increasingly unified opposition, with their term stretched to the far edge of expiration (and several state assemblies pushed beyond this point), BN failed to counter Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) message of ‘Ini Kali Lah!’, returning their worst result ever. The BN not only failed to recover a two-thirds majority in Parliament but lost the popular vote for the first time, with only 47.38% support compared to PR’s 50.87%.
The anticipation and tension leading up to and extending beyond GE13 (with widespread accusations of electoral fraud and BN retaining power through systemic gerrymandering and malapportionment), was apparent not just within civil society but also within academia, surely going down as not just the most anticipated but the most researched election in Malaysian history. Non-governmental organisations, too, were on high alert, with extensive scrutiny of electoral processes and authorities. One of the main areas of interest and contention in political, academic, activist, and civil society alike was that of media bias.
Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
Last Friday, the New Straits Times ate humble pie and apologised to four NGOs for having defamed them in a front-page report it published last year that carried no substance and offered no evidence whatsoever to support its accusation that they were involved in a plot to destabilise the Government.
The newspaper now acknowledges that the report, written by Farrah Naz Karim, was “groundless” and “false”, and that it “should not have been published”.
When it came out on September 21, 2012, I was appalled by its blatant disregard of journalistic ethics – in fact, of any kind of ethics. I thought it pathetic that the newspaper had sunk so low. This was the worst transgression the paper had committed perhaps since 1998, when it carried on its front page a couple of stories that were editorials rather than news reports aimed at assassinating the character of Anwar Ibrahim after he was sacked by then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for accusing the latter of paranoia and resisting the need to weed out corruption and cronyism. Read the rest of this entry »
Nov 19, 2013
The state of the media in Malaysia indicates that the nation is not as democratic as it is made out to be, said a university-based researcher.
This is because most of the “mainstream Malaysian news media… is actually more akin to a BN party organ”, Nottingham University Media and Communications associate professor Tessa Houghton said.
“When the only media functioning as anything like professional news journalism organisations are in Mandarin or are online, it’s safe to say that something is seriously rotten in what aspires to be the best democracy in the world,” she said.
Houghton was responding to arguments against her media monitoring findings conducted in the lead-up to and during the 13th general election. Read the rest of this entry »
How did I suddenly become a communist in the past four years when in the previous 43 years, I was not a communist?
Recently, there has been an escalation of the campaign of lies and falsehoods against Pakatan Rakyat leaders, not only in cyberspace, but even in Parliament and the various State Assemblies.
The latest instance is in the Johore State Assembly, where the DAP State Assemblyman for Pekan Nenas, Yeo Tung Siong was accused of being a “communist” by the Umno State Assemblyman for Kukup Suhaimi bin Salleh for his speech in the State Assembly.
What was Tung Siong’s crime? What did Tung Siong say? Did Tung Siong glorify communism?
I asked Tung Siong and he sent me his speech in the Johore State Assemby early this week where he did not make any mention of communism. Read the rest of this entry »
Nov 13, 2013
It was a victory for responsible journalism in Malaysia today when mainstream daily New Straits Times (NST) had to bend to demands from four NGOs to apologise for publishing a fabricated story.
The apology was part of the conditions set by polls reform movement Bersih 2.0, human rights group Suaram, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and pollster Merdeka Centre, for dropping their defamation suit against the “oldest English newspaper in the country”.
NST’s website claims that it has been publishing since 1845.
NST also agreed to pay RM120,000 to the four parties, for reporting more than a year ago that the NGOs were plotting to overthrow the BN government.
“The damage was done at that time… I certainly hope this doesn’t become a habit for the NST to write a fabricated story and then apologise for it later,” Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan told reporters outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
“The apology is not the end of the matter. What we want to see is responsible journalism.” Read the rest of this entry »
By Kee Thuan Chye
The disclaimer at the beginning of the show tells it all: “This programme is intended for immature audiences only. This programme is NOT intended for educational purposes, merely to stimulate FUN. If you are easily offended, mudah tersinggung or terkeliru, probably best to close the window right now.”
This is That Effing Show, described by its producers as “a satirical news show that laughs, pokes fun and points out the (often) obvious and not-so-obvious absurdities of Malaysian socio-political life”. Created by a bunch of clever, creative and concerned young people, it has been coming out regularly on the web TV network PopTeeVee since 2010.
By its own description, the show is a parody of Malaysian life, done in good humour, which means it is not to be taken seriously. Those who are easily offended or confused are warned not to watch it. This being clear, the show should therefore not expect any complaints against it except aesthetic ones – like perhaps it failed to generate fun or to entertain, or that the technical production was sub-standard, or that its actors performed badly.
Perkasa, however, is taking it very seriously. The Malay rights organisation has taken exception particularly to the series’ recent segment, ‘That Effing Show #95: Allah, Apa Lagi?’, and its complaint is not on aesthetic grounds. Perkasa has even made not just one but nine police reports against it! Read the rest of this entry »