Yesterday, I made a plea for an end to the politics of lies and falsehoods in the run-up to the 13th General Elections, which must be held latest in 156 days by June 27, but is expected to be held in less than 70 days.
I was referring to the latest defamation suit lost by UMNO mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia, this time to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, earning a rebuke by the judge, Justice V.T. Singham who found Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd and its chief editor Abdul Aziz Ishak as guilty of damaging Anwar’s reputation and exposing him to ridicule and scorn.
In his judgment, Singham stressed that journalists and editors should be careful with what they write so as not to include comment, which may impugn somebody.
The judge said: “The press should have no greater power in impressing or misleading the minds of the people when compared to the reputation of an individual.
“It is essential that journalists, editors and publishers should take great care before any article which tends to harm the reputation of an individual is published. Reckless articles that contain insinuation or imputation without verification are to be avoided.”
But the judge’s advice had no effect whatsoever on the UMNO/BN mainstream media and neither my plea for an end to the dishonest politics of lies and falsehoods, and in particular that the UMNO/Barisan Nasional mainstream media (MSM) should observe the most rudimentary canons of journalistic ethics and to stop being ‘Lies-Papers”.
This was shown by another egregious lie and falsehood by the UMNO/BN mainstream media today – this time by New Straits Times in its false report headlined “Wife of ailing MP angry at DAP”, (p.6) which was nothing but a pack of lies without an ounce of truth.
Quoting another rogue news portal, the NST claimed that Irene Chang, the wife of Sibu DAP member of parliament and Sarawak DAP Chairman Wong Ho Leng, “is said to have criticized the party for failing to provide or offer financial support to her husband, who has a brain tumour” and even quoting her as saying that “the party’s leadership was heartless” and scolding DAP Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng.
Publishing lies and falsehoods already violate the most elementary ethics and canons of journalism, but to concoct lies and falsehoods just to extract political capital but utterly heedless of the pain and suffering they would cause to individuals who are already under great stress and pressure as NST had done to Wong Ho Leng and Irene Chang is a most wretched and contemptible deed, and only those who are inhumane and even inhuman can approve of such an action.
What makes NST action most unforgivable is that Irene Chang had put the following clarification on her facebook yesterday:
“I have been made aware of a certain article posted online and which reported me as having complained against our party leadership.
“I am absolutely furious. There is absolutely no truth in this article.
“I did not give any interview nor did I ever complain against our party or against anyone. More importantly, never did I ever feel, for a second that I have a cause to complain against our party or anyone in specific.
“ In fact, since my husband’s medical condition was diagnosed, I have been too worried and concerned about his medical condition than to worry whether the party is providing any financial support or otherwise.
“But having said this, I put on record that since our party leaders have been told of my husband’s condition, each and everyone of them, have been unbelievably supportive and caring.
“Both my husband and I have, in fact felt that we have been very blessed to know these people, who have somehow, crossed over the line from being political comrades to being very caring friends.
“And my family and I have been very touched by the call for support for my husband by our Secretary General, YAB Lim Guan Eng, an appreciation of which was posted by our eldest daughter, Suzanne Gail Wong, in her facebook on 14th January 2013.
“Therefore, it would be very unfair and unjust to let this article be passed around for people to pass judgment on our party leaders, our party and me, without any basis at all. I therefore strongly condemn this article for each and every sentence therein is a lie.”
The question I want to pose to UMNO/BN leaders today is what unethical depths and bottomless pits are they and UMNO/BN mainstream media going to plumb before the 13GE?
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