Putrajaya moves to soothe journalists

May 1, 2012

Putrajaya has moved to soothe relations with news organisations following the aftermath of the Bersih 3.0 rally, where the police were accused of injuring at least a dozen journalists.

It is learned that Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Koh Tsu Koon, got the ball rolling during a meeting with editors from several Chinese dailies today.

Also present at the meeting were Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s Chinese affairs assistant Wong Nai Chee and press secretary Joan Lai.

During the meeting, at a restaurant in Petaling Jaya, editors were asked to share their views on Bersih 3.0 and comment on the alleged high-handedness of the police against journalists.

Meanwhile, all major news organisations will be meeting police representatives at a meeting at Bukit Aman national police headquarters tomorrow.

According to a source, the details of the meeting were not revealed to the news organisations, but it is believed to be related to the Bersih 3.0 rally.

However, Malaysiakini is among those organisations not invited to this meeting.

What was Hisham’s directive?

Earlier today, PKR vice-president N Surendran had accused the Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein of summoning media bosses to a briefing a day prior to Bersih 3.0, where he alleged they were instructed to play down acts of police violence.

Surendran said that PKR has evidence of this which proves that Najib’s vows to reform press laws ring hollow.

Although Malay and English newspapers have generally been muted on police violence against journalists on Saturday, Chinese dailies have been highlighting the issue up until today.

Yesterday, the China Press carried a front-page story with pictures of 13 injured journalists under the heading ‘Victims of violence at the rally, what did the journalists do wrong?’

The National Union of Journalists has also urged the authorities to investigate the matter and book errant police personnel.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:15 am

    The MSM is on overdrive to paint Bersih black but the bottom line really is that Najib’s admin strategy with Bersih and Najib’s overall political strategy has failed. The election result don’t even matter to conclude that.

    Bersih came out of this with some scuff marks but the size of their win is so big, it does not matter even if the MSM go on overdrive. Today’s social world, online or offline, makes what the MSM does the same importance as National Inquirer in the US – its voyeurism but unconvincing. Makcik/Pak Cik in the kampung may not read the internet but their grandchildren whom they love and believe all have notebooks that tells them the whole story..

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:26 am

    Putrajaya has to do damage control to soothe press because per esprit de corp every pressman, whether mainstream or alternative, is legitimately worried about whether he be clobbered, with his tools (camera) being ripped by police next time in covering events like this. Political elites need their good will (esp mainstream) to present their “good image” to public. To be sure once signal was given for police to launch action, one couldn’t control the power or abuse of power unleashed. In today’s social media world the mata2 also worried that they and their acts would be videoed and use as evidence against them. If police were released from their restraint to crack down on Bersih 428, as they did at 3 pm when barricades were breached, the ensuing brutality was predictable.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:27 am

    Many hold the view that police “brutality” is main issue and the breach that gave it the pretext to be unleashed is a mere side one. Yes it would be only from point of view of Opposition/detractors that such ensuing police brutality (notwithstanding predictable) would effectively serve the objective of rebutting Ah Jib Gor’s best democracy boast and (hopefully) galvanise the necessary critical mass in public revulsion to dislodge incumbent in GE. Other than that the phenomenon of brutality is always known and given factor since Hemy Hamisa’s nude ear squat, old men compulsorily bald shaved, TBH, Hindraf, Bersih 1.0, 2.0. findings of IPCMC etc What’s new? I wonder how could something expected/predictable be main issue???

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:32 am

    The more intriguing (and presently not known) is what & who triggered/facilitated the breach of the barricades at 3 pm; was it simply inability to control the crowd at points of breach or someone had a prior plan to do so, a road map towards some other objectives and whether that these objectives have been served/achieved or thwarted or invited more problems. The issue carries implications on how one reads what’s going to happen next and how to manage it. This is the main issue to focus on. Police brutality is but an expected consequence that was unleashed based on excuse of the barricade breach. Being a known factor it’s not (unlike the true circumstances surrounding the breach) a main issue in terms of divining what the players on both side of political divide are going to do next.

  5. #5 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:43 am

    No doubt ah koon has been tasked to hammer home the point that what happened during bersih 3.0 was a mere exercise of umno’s unquestionable ketuanan right.

  6. #6 by Godfather on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 9:02 am

    I for one do not subscribe to the theory that PKR members caused the breach of the barricades, and therefore deliberately triggered the crackdown. However, in today’s age and technology, it should not be too difficult to identify from CCTVs and still cameras who actually started the breach. Take them to court and perhaps we can find out why they caused it, or who ordered them to do so. If the police just sit on their hands and do nothing to identify the culprits, then we can only assume that the provocateurs were planted there by UMNO.

    The STAR carried a prominent picture of a young man kicking at a policeman while the latter was on the ground. This culprit should be brought to book, and until now nothing has happened. Is he a Pakatan supporter or is he an UMNO or Perkasa plant ? Is the truth too unpalatable even for the ruling elite ?

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 9:42 am

    It was reported in Oriental Daily News today that some 20 police officers went to Seremban to arrest Thanggam Raju who was alleged to have opened the barricade for protesters to rush into Dataran Merdeka. I just cannot understand why it needs 20 police officers to arrest an unarmed civilian? Why must the police be so heavy-handed?

  8. #8 by DAP man on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 9:51 am

    I wonder if our journalists have any conscience!
    How could they turn victims into criminals.

    Our journalists have abdicated their dignity, humanity, self-respect and prepared bow to the very people who oppress and intimidate them…. all for that pay package to feed their children.

    Shame on you, Malaysian journalists. Curse your souls.

  9. #9 by DAP man on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 10:07 am

    “….or someone had a prior plan to do so, a road map towards some other objectives and whether that these objectives have been served/achieved or thwarted or invited more problems.” Jeffery

    Honestly, do you think this government will ever allow BERSIH 3.0 to be a roaring success? No way!!

    When Ambigai said ,”Bersih 3.0 is a success. You can all disperse now”, the police must have gotten some instructions from some higher ups to turn the rally into a mayhem. This is the actual police SOP.

    Consider this : Agent provocateurs remove barriers, move into Dataran, tear gas fired, water canon spays and the attack, arrests and beatings.

    Bingo, the main media get fodder for Sunday pages. Without this they will have nothing to report.
    Now Bersih 3.0 can be vilified by UMNO.

  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 12:31 pm

    ///Honestly, do you think this government will ever allow BERSIH 3.0 to be a roaring success? No way!!/// – DAP Man.

    Well it is a question of minimising the negative effects of Bersih 3 on perception of UMNO/BN. Its lesser of 2 evils (from ruling party’s standpoint) to allow the rally to proceed peacefully at Dataran. I’ve commented earlier that Ah Jib Gor should have cooperated to be in line with his boast of best democracy, slew of purported reforms eg peaceful assembly act, bring in Kampong baru’s hawkers to make money, (and ambulances in case some people fainted) and of course ‘talk cock’ about trying his best to make electoral reforms etc. (By putting up with the event as if it were 1 Malaysia Carnival he would mitigate the negative effects against the govt). But as it is some one wanted to jam him up with sandiwara half hearted illogical measures: no police action as long as one went as far as barricades and did not cross (as if Dataran big deal) and at 3 pm using pretext of barricades breach lanuch full scale police action not only in Dataran but all parts of KL where there were multitude of Bersih participants. Full scale police action of course would involve bigger scale of violence / brutality on police part which they compounded the problem by attacking journalists and their cameras to eliminate evidence of brutality. This is a Public relation disaster for BN and a major scoop/boon to Opposition. It makes Bersih the ‘biggest’ success ever and a prelude to Bersih 4.0!. Imagine brutality by govt security forces on hundreds of thousands of peaceful Malaysians (entirely multiracial in line with 1 Malaysia) fighting a Cause (free & clean elections) unimpeachable/contradictable even by standards of dictators and worse part the occurence of violence (evidenced by social media & even maintream journalists attacked) not by protestors but by government apparatus. What could be worse Public Relations disaster than this? So who want this to happen and benefit from this…..

  11. #11 by daniel on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 12:58 pm

    Only in Malaysia we have the IGP go on record in the MSM to say the confiscating of cameras and memory cards is not SOP but the cameras can be taken if they are suspected to be used as weapons. Malaysia macam macam pun Boleh.

  12. #12 by rockdaboat on Thursday, 3 May 2012 - 8:31 am

    “I wonder if our journalists have any conscience!
    How could they turn victims into criminals.”

    Any prostitute would open her legs for her paymaster! So are “Press Prostitutes” who sell their conscience for a few penny!

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