Monday, October 15, 2007

Restrict Truth = No Truth, Restrict Freedom = No Freedom

Fresh from Tengku Adnan's statements on the Judiciary Issue, Malaysiakini reported that our Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin came out with something new about the "State of Truth". I had previously chronicled Tengku Adnan's infamous statements in an: "Not Asking Them to Write Truthfully", He Said.

Without further ado, let's proceed to the issue at hand. Malaysiakini reported Zam to media: No need to tell PM the truth . Shocking doesn't it?

Malaysia Today as well as Lim Kit Siang's blog had made some extracts on the shocking statement. Excerpts with comments from me as below :

Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin has told editors not to play up negative news because Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s pledge to “hear the truth” does not apply to the media.

[ Sagaladoola: Why, oh, why Zainuddin? I thought the ethics of media and journalism is to investigate and tell the truth ? If lies were said, it would be considered unethical and propaganda-ish. That would be so negative .

It is Pak Lah's personal problem on whether he wants to listen or accept the truth.

From my understanding, the media is for the citizens. Malaysia is already 50 years old, and citizens like me would like to have an INDEPENDENT media telling us the truth and nothing but the truth no matter how hurtful that can be......

..... and I thought, citizens deserve to know the truth ]

Zainuddin said this during a one-hour meeting on Wednesday at the RTM headquarters in Kuala Lumpur with the country’s top editors.

The country’s information czar is one of two top government officials to hold meetings with the media top brass this week.

Yesterday, chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan in another meeting urged media organisations to avoid emphasising on news deemed negative against the government, such as the 2006 Auditor-General’s report.

[ Sagaladoola: One can only solve problems (especially those plaguing the nation) when one acknowledges the truth and weaknesses. Besides, I recalled back then in 2004, Pak Lah received a landslide victory in elections because he promised "Transparency" and "Accountability". Wondering what happened to the "Transparency" part ? ]

According to sources, Zainuddin began the meeting by declaring that he would frequently meet editors to advise them about national issues.

[ Sagaladoola: Now you see it how it is done. *blink blink, wink wink* ]

However, he stressed that he would only “advise and not give warnings”.

[ Wikipedia: Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is a piece of legislation that requires all print media in Malaysia to obtain a licence and abide by its strict regulations. The license or permit must be renew annually in order to publish in Malaysia. ]

[ Sagaladoola: Ooooo.. so that is a choice, not a warning or threat? Hmmn, ok . I am sure that the editors will listen to the so-called "advise" from Zainuddin Maidin. If there is something about making editors listening to so-called "advice", be rest assured that the Information Minister have been doing a "great job" these few years.

I mean look at how the protests, bloggers and Batu Burok were being reported. I don't know what to say.]

The information minister claimed that he assumed the new role under the instructions of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

[ Sagaladoola: Now we know who the chief director is ]

Zainuddin then explained that Abdullah’s often repeated pledges of “listening to the truth” were only restricted to government officials and Barisan Nasional leaders so as to assist the cabinet in making decisions.

[ Sagaladoola: The citizens are supposed to be staying in a democratic nation, where they play a part in deciding for the nation. They have MPs to voice their decision. What is wrong for the citizens to "listen to the truth" ? ]

Based on the account by a well-placed source, Zainuddin said Abdullah’s pledge did not mean that the media have the green light to practice unrestrained reporting because certain topics were considered highly sensitive.

Zainuddin added that the cabinet often scrutinises media reports and have noticed that at times, Abdullah’s statements have been misconstrued. However, the minister did not elaborate on this.

[ Sagaladoola: So, again, it's either the mistake of the press or citizens for miscontruing? Zainuddin needs to relate. If you are talking about justice, one is innocent until proven guilty. Not the other way round. Where is the proof, Zam? ]

The information minister also ticked off two television stations, warning them to stay away from reporting with a racial slant as this could trigger another "May 13" riots.

[ Sagaladoola: Why blame the media for this? Hishamuddin is not from the media, right? So is, Badruddin Amiruldin]

I have a few questions, I would like to ask Zainuddin Maidin concerning his "advice":

1) If the media is not writing "truth" in the papers, what kind of articles would be published?

2) What is the opposite of truth?

3) Who does the media belong to? The citizens or the ruling party?

I end my article with a famous quote:

TRUTH ....... "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
— quote from Philip K. Dick , a famous deceased author.

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