Media must act responsibly

SPEAK UP! :: theSun Says
Updated: 10:08PM Tue, 10 May 2011

ON MONDAY, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein stated that “it is important for all media practitioners to understand the sensitivity of issues concerning religion and race” and that “this should be taken into account before reports are published”.

A very commendable statement indeed by someone in charge of national security and public order especially when some alarm bells rang over a newspaper’s front-page report that alleged a group of Christian pastors pledged at a meeting last week to elect a Christian prime minister and to make Christianity the religion of the Federation of Malaysia.

It was an irresponsible piece of writing anywhere in the world but especially more so in multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-racial Malaysia. It could have sparked some ugly incidents to happen like what happened in the days following the decision by the High Court to allow the word “Allah” to be used in the Malay version of a church newsletter.

It was indeed a serious matter, so serious that it took no less a person than Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to appeal for calm. That nothing happened clearly demonstrates the maturity and intelligence of Malaysians who knew that the offending news report was based on nothing more than figments of some people’s fertile imagination and conjecture often overheard at village and roadside coffee stalls.

As law expert Abdul Aziz Bari said in response to the report, it was pure nonsense. A responsible newspaper would not have published the report because a thorough research would show that Islam as the religion of the federation is well entrenched in the Federal Constitution and that it would require more than a two-thirds majority in Parliament to change that.

In short, something almost impossible. If the newspaper knew that, and surely it must have known that, what reasons would make it so pressing that the report be published nonetheless?

Some police reports had been lodged against the newspaper and as usual “police are investigating”.

Hishammuddin knew that what was reported was a very sensitive matter, something that “should not be raised by any party as this could cause chaos and anxiety among the people”, yet all he could say was “we cannot as yet make any conclusion or accuse any party based on media reports”.

This has left many people to wonder whether the authorities would be gripped by similar inaction had a similar report been carried by another newspaper.

On April 27, theSun said: Same standards must apply to all media. This followed another front-page report by Utusan Malaysia which had caused some unease among some communities in the country. When asked about that report, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin remarked something about the media being free to express the feelings of a community but added that it must be done responsibly.

As for the recent report on the alleged attempt to make Christianity the religion of the federation, all the rakyat can do is to wait.

  1. #1 by dagen on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 - 9:31 am

    Another own goal scored by umno.
    Goal 1: sodomy 1
    Goal 2: sodomy 2
    Goal 3: allah for islam jenis-umno only
    Goal 4: bible versi bahasa detention
    Goal 5: defacing bible versi bahasa
    Goal 6: sex tape showing some one I thought looked like tamby with an indon woman
    Goal 7: christian pm and christian as national religion
    and many many many more.

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 - 1:57 pm

    Dei!People here is serious la,dei!Ah yo yo..nanti kena bugum bugum baru chai si

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