Incitement is not press freedom

Its utterly shocking that Rocky of Rocky’s Bru can endorsed racism and incitement to violence in the name of Press Freedom. For a veteran senior journalist and Protem President of All Blogs Malaysia to have his thoughts so convulated and myopic is astonishing to say the least.

As for Chamil Wariya’s shameful and irresponsible attempt to incite a culture of hatred, violence and terrorism in Malaysian politics, he has clearly violated the Sedition Act. To incite murder is totally unacceptable. A human being will always respect the dignity and the sanctity of life of another fellow human being.

He would only do well in Zorror’s Fart Chamber.

And as for his cerpen, it’s not worth a shit.

The Sun
Friday October 17 2008
by Terence Fernandez

IT IS uncommon for newspapers, media organisations as well as their journalists to criticise one another’s editorial policies or reports. Call it journalistic etiquette if you want.

However, there are the few but significant times when this decorum is disregarded. And this usually occurs when a member of the Fourth Estate breaches the norms and values of responsible journalism and risks bringing acceptable standards of reporting down to the recesses of gutter journalism. Thus when this happens, it is incumbent upon the press fraternity to speak up.

If we don’t do our house-cleaning, we are seen as condoning and even supporting the words and writings of those who use “freedom of the press” and their media tag as a façade to incite, provoke and inflame.

It does not take a heart surgeon to draw parallels between the main character in Chamil Wariya’s short story in Mingguan Malaysia on Sunday to a very real and sitting Member of Parliament. He wrote about a fictional controversial Member of Parliament who meets her end at the hand of an assassin. The events leading to her murder is eye-brow-raising similar to those experienced by the real MP. The similarities are too uncanny not to be deliberate. If anyone denies this, it is just a pitiable and cowardly attempt to hide from the truth.

The story depicts one YB J (Josephine), second term MP for the fictional constituency of Alam Maya and her push for non-race based politics which makes her out to be a chauvinist and racist who is against a certain community.

While being driven to a function where she is to meet 500 fellow young countrymen who had studied abroad, she has a monologue on the perception that she is a racist and seeks clarification from her driver Ahmad. He tells her that she “may or may not” be one, leaving her even more confused. Ahmad has his own monologue, which are imbued with images of suicide bombers and angels.

At the function, YB J is approached by a participant who assassinates her and takes his own life. On the assassin’s body is a note that reads it is better to end YB J’s life to ensure that this multiracial country continues to experience the peace and harmony it has enjoyed for so long.

Drawing parallels again, the story mentions the ruling coalition losing its two-thirds majority, ISA detentions, Molotov cocktail attacks and changing of street signs. Sheer coincidence? You’ve got to be kidding!

While we are all allowed (and in some cases guilty of using) creative licence, there are boundaries to observe – what with sedition laws, defamation suits and show-cause letters. Even so, I have yet to come across a journalist who in all sense of the word incites murder! This is definitely deliberate and deserves the highest condemnation from all members of the press and decent Malaysians who strive for peace and harmony.

And to think that this comes from someone with more than 35 years in the media business, having held key positions in media organisations and press groups is a stain on the journalistic community.

If Chamil Wariya wants to use his position to curry favour with certain individuals or groups or to push a certain agenda, that is his business. But when one uses his pen to even suggest taking a life, this brings us to a whole new level of sewer journalism – the likes which we have not yet seen in this country.

The biggest tragedy of all is that he is the CEO of the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) – an organisation which among others preaches responsible journalism as an integral component of press freedom.

Apart from awarding the nation’s highest annual journalism honours, it also conducts courses for journalists young and old. So is this the kind of journalism espoused by the MPI to cadet reporters other media organisations entrust it to train and develop?

The MPI has often been accused of being partisan and a retirement home for out-of-work editors.

It is thus incumbent on the institute to ensure the reputation it has built (and salvaged) is not further tarnished by one of its highest office-bearers. What it should do now is to deliberate on Chamil Wariya’s association with the MPI. Turning a deaf ear or blind eye is merely sending the message that the country’s highest media establishment condones incitement to murder.

(Terence, who has just taken down his MPI award from the mantlepiece, hopes he will once again be able to display it proudly.)


2 Responses to Incitement is not press freedom

  1. Patricia says:

    Hey there Bangmalaysia,

    Don’t you just love the way Terrence Netto writes? (Is he related to Anil, btw? I am kaypoh lah. Sorry. ) But, I may not follow some of what he says sometimes, but I think it’s cos I’m not paying attention, cos I’m too impressed by his use of words and the language! Makes me swoon lah. Hahahaha!

    But back to the twit who calls this rubbish a short story? Ah well, it says so much about the paper that published it as well, doesn’t it? I mean, if I was the editor, I’d have read the first few paragraphs and then filed it under ‘D’ – for dustbin.

    But this really isn’t funny at all, is it? It is so sad that even someone ‘up there’ cannot understand that we may not agree with someone’s views or ideas or idealism even – but we need not be enemies. We can agree to differ, and may the best one win.

    But we have too many morons here lah. And they all seem to be the ones in charge of everything that matters. So, unless you too are a moron, don’t bother applying for a post.

    Are we doomed?

    Hi Pat,
    The writer of the above article is Terence Fernandez not the Netto guy. As for Terrence Netto, he is Anil’s brother I think. I use to know Anil. He is very active in Aliran. Both of them writes very well. By the way you write beautifully too in perfect King’s or Queen’s English. God you must have taught English for a very long time. I really thought you were an English woman initially.

    We are probably of the same age… same as Michelle Yoon’s (NZ) father. So Michelle is young enough to be our daughter, huh? hee hee. I do love the late 60’s and early 70’s, the era of flower power, make love not war and living the culture of pot, woodstock and haight ashbury. Truly a definitive age. BTW, ‘Pieces of April’ by Three Dog Night is a favorite of mine too.

    Yes, I am indeed afraid of what will happen to this country, very afraid with the ultra right wingers wanting to take the upper hand again. Pardon my bad English. I know I make so many grammatical errors and I’m just blunt and don’t mince my words type.

  2. Patricia says:

    Hahahahah! Thank you for thinking I write well! You don’t know how many times I’ve had my writing thrown in my face! Many times when I was copy-writing; and again when I was writing my dessertation for my masters. For the latter, my silly ‘supervisor’ who was neither super nor wise! said I wrote like a reporter once, and the very next day, she told me I wrote like Jane Austen! Hahahah – I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. And since she did it in print, my friends and I have been laughing at that for years! Hahahahah!

    Sorry about mixing up Fernandez and Netto! Unforgivable – especially since we’re all Malayalee – that’s Indian to the rest of Malaysia 😉

    And nothing’s wrong with your English, young man 😉 Hahahahah.

    I like your blog – especially since it helps me keep my promise of staying away from the msmedia!



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