Malaysiakini journalist Wong Choon Mei resigns to take responsibility for an erroneous report. Too bad we can’t say anything positive about a shit-ass mainstream media that incites racial hatred and even violence and murder.
Malaysian Insider Report Below:
OCT 21 — It’s NOT a rare day when journalism is on trial in Malaysia. But it’s a rare day when a journalist resigns to take responsibility for an erroneous report.
Today, Malaysiakini journalist Wong Choon Mei resigned for putting out a report late on Sunday on Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s manifesto for the Umno presidency, which the deputy prime minister denied and called “patently false and misleading”.
“It is my fault and I stand ready to take full responsibility and resign,” Wong explained to the popular online portal.
Her editor, Steven Gan, was also quoted in the Malaysiakini portal as saying: “We deeply regret the error.”
In comparison, DAP leader and lawmaker Teresa Kok has had to sue Utusan Malaysia and its columnist Mohd Zaini Hassan over an article titled “Azan, Jawi, Jais, UiTM dan ba-alif-ba-ya” published in the Malay-language newspaper on Sept 10 which she alleges was maliciously intended to defame her.
The article had accused her of leading a petition to stop the use of loudspeakers at a mosque when performing azan prayers. Kok has denied these claims. She also spent a week in detention under the Internal Security Act as police investigated the allegations.
They have not apologised and neither has Zaini offered to resign or stop writing his columns. In fact, the Umno-owned newspaper has exacerbated the matter by publishing a short story and poetry which alluded to her case. However, short-story writer Datuk Chamil Wariya, an industry veteran, has denied such allusions.
Writers from other mainstream media outlets and bloggers who used to be journalists have also asked Kok to withdraw her suit, pleading for a case of media freedom in Malaysia.
But Wong, with a just a decade of experience under her belt in The Edge, Reuters and Channel News Asia, has shown these veterans the standards that Malaysian journalism must aspire for.
With her resignation over a mistake, she has now become the standard for professionalism and accountability in Malaysian media. And she has shown the difference between freedom and responsibility in the online world which the mainstream media has yet to reveal despite their years in the industry.
Malaysian journalism will be enriched with the likes of Wong. The online media has shown it answers to a higher standard than those in the mainstream media, reflected in its growing popularity even as circulation falls for most newspapers as ironically pointed out by Chamil himself this week.
Chamil, who is the Malaysian Press Institute chief executive, quoted Audit Bureau Circulation Malaysia figures showing newspaper circulation in the Malay, English and Chinese languages in the peninsula had declined to 3,876,526 up to June 2006 from 3,960,122 in 2004. In the same period, daily circulation in all three languages had dipped to 394,864 from 483,921 in Sarawak and to 164,168 from 165,578 in Sabah.
While the economy is seen as a cause, a number of Malaysians have turned to online sources as they presume the newspapers are owned by politically-linked companies and produce spin and propaganda in their reportage.
Utusan Malaysia’s recent reporting has boosted such presumptions although shrill reporting and outrageous articles that border on the fantasy in news portals like Malaysia Today do no justice for online news portals despite talk of press freedom and a responsibile media.
But Wong has proven that there are journalists who can walk the talk rather than just talk the walk.