What is the "agenda" of certain mass media which  devote daily extensive coverage to the DAP’s internal problems when previously they would black out all news about the DAP to the extent that the name "Lim Kit Siang" is banned in their  reporting of parliamentary debates?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): DAP is finalising proposals for the commissioning of an independent study on the unfair coverage of the current DAP crisis by certain mass media which appear to have certain agendas, as perpetuating the impression:

Such a commissioned study would also be asked to find out what is the "agenda" of certain mass media who devote daily extensive coverage to the DAP’s internal problems, often times putting the DAP on the front page,  when previously they would black out all news about the DAP to the extent that the name "Lim Kit Siang" is banned in reporting of parliamentary debates?

Furthermore, such extensive news coverage for the DAP is not on what the DAP leaders are advocating for Malaysia in the national movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance, but on the attacks, abuses and insinuations hurled at the DAP leadership by certain DAP malcontents.

In other words, press freedom for certain mass media has degenerated to a stage where  what the Parliamentary Opposition Leader has to say, whether inside or outside Parliament, for the betterment of the Malaysian society or on behalf of the Malaysian people is never news enough to be reported, but any criticism or attack by any DAP malcontent, whether significant or otherwise, is instantly regarded as "newsworthy" even fit for the  front-page!

For the sake of developing a honest, fair and responsible press in Malaysia, it is important that such abuses of press freedom should be brought to public light and knowledge.

It is also very unfortunate that columnists who write comment pieces in certain mass media do not seem to understand that the most fundamental tenet they must observe is "Comments are free, but facts are sacred".  There are more and more "Comment" pieces where there is total disregard of the facts of a case, resulting in the most outrageous comments. One such comment appeared today in a local national daily under the heading "No more ‘democracy’ in DAP?"

It would be very useful for the development of a healthy, responsible and vibrant journalism in Malaysia if the unfair mass media coverage of the DAP crisis, involving both news, comments and even editorials, could be made into a case study, which would be a public document, giving the newspapers and journalists concerned an opportunity to justify their unfairness and  bias.

Recently, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad accused the local press of "negative reporting" in the coverage of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport chaos and mess during the first days of its operations.

I was the only person to defend the press in the discharge of their journalistic responsibilities.  But there were only silence from the local press themselves.

Do the local press agree with the Prime Minister’s accusation that they had been guilty of sensationalism in their reporting of the KLIA chaos and mess?

 If not, why is it no local press dare to speak up to  defend itself? If yes, why no local press had come forward to publicly apologise for negative and sensational reporting of the KLIA?

As public personalities, DAP leaders  are prepared to be criticised by the mass media, but the mass media must realise that they also bear a public trust and must be prepared to subject themselves to public scrutiny to ensure that they had not fallen from the minimum standards of honest, fair, responsible and independent journalism.

For these above reasons, Malaysians must wonder whether the unfair coverage  of the DAP crisis by certain mass media is in fact part of a larger plot by certain Barisan Nasional quarters to try to destroy the DAP by fomenting and aggravating internal DAP differences so that the DAP would not pose a threat to them in the next general elections.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong