Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finally An Ombudsman For Media And Media Practitioners….

The proposed formation of a National Media Council has drawn both support and flak from media practitioners as well as critics. In light of the recent heavyweight lawsuits, most are not willing to go on paper to make their feelings known.

It’s a well known fact that two of Malaysia’s more famous netizens, Ahirudin Attan a.k.a Rocky and Jeff Ooi, Yang Berhormat since the March 8 General Elections, were brought to the civil courts in an attempt to silence their oft critical and revealing post on a main stream newspaper.

The proposed formation of the council comes in the wake of recent lawsuits taken by YB Seputeh, Teresa Kok. Though not attributed as the cause, it cannot be said that this is not the straw the broke the camel’s back.

For once too often, the media has been blamed for the ‘spins’ and half truths of many articles, coincidentally, most involving the Pakatan Political parties. In recent days, even the fore runner of Malaysia’s Web News Portal, Malaysiakini, have come into disrepute, publishing a purported DPM Najib Tun Razak’s manifesto for the Presidency of UMNO,

Malaysiakini’s Editor in charge of the day’s publishing has since tendered her resignation.

What then does the proposed council hold for the ordinary Ahmad, Raju and Ah Beng on the street?

For one, it will be deemed the one stop centre for complaints, sort of like an ombudsman.

But how far will media practitioners go to make this council work? Main stream media is already controlled by the Printing and Press Act, not to forget the Sedition Act, and probably a host of many other laws too. It will then be the place to go to where people can make complaints and take the media to task without having to fear the courts. Much like the BAR is to lawyers. Something like that. Here in Malaysia, Media practitioners since the March 8 Political Tsunami also includes the much loved 7 letter word, Bloggers. They certainly did their part in the urban political landscape, contributing to the history making change in the political scene of Malaysia.

But that is as far as it goes. In recent months, the once ‘apolitical’ group has turned on its head! Probably the trigger that brought these bloggers to the fore was the Ijok by election of 2007. Of the handful of bloggers that ‘covered’ the event, quite a few has turned ‘pro-reformasi!’ (Annuar Ibrahim’s KeAdilan Party formed in 1997 to fight for the overturn of his conviction on misuse of power amd sodomy charges coined the phrase reformasi in the late nineties, and his party KeAdilan, trounced in the 2004 elections underwent a change, eventually renaming itself Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PKR) Recent post by these bloggers have even gone as far as to insinuate that Altantuya was able to reach out to them through third party seance to tell her grim tale.

Never mind that the case is still in court, and never mind that the Police has actually cleared those mysteriously named in Statutory Declarations and testaments. These bloggers are hell bent that Najib and his wife are actually involved. All thanks to the expose of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, whose many accusations and articles remain that.

Amazingly none of his accusers have taken him to court, and perhaps this has fuelled the conspiracy subscribers that when there is smoke, there is fire.

However, many have failed to actually check the source. Most do not realize the extent of RPK’s ability to spin. From the pro Anwar Reformasi days, which saw him critical of then Prime Minister Mahathir to the post Anwar release days, which saw him in Mahathir’s group asking for help, in which it was reported that he offered his spinning abilities against Abdullah Badawi. Malaysians, it seems in their dire hope of the much longed for, change in government has gone the length to convince themselves that all that is printed on the internet is indeed the truth and nothing but that. Not even Police investigations and commission of Inquiry can tell them otherwise.

Perhaps, then if the proposed National Media Council actually did cover the blogosphere, then maybe, just maybe, these personal opinion maestros of the blogs might just succumb to authority. As it is, the likes of masked men, Cikgus, Cerpen writers, Political Aides, has-been-was-there bloggers will continue to mesmerize their readers with imagined fowls and miraged post men with their fairy tales!

This writer believes that these personal pages (otherwise known as Blogs) remain….oh so personal and should not be looked at as THE SOURCE for news.

Aye! I say YES to the NMC!

No comments: