(Penang, Sunday): The prolonged local mass media blackout of Malaysia’s catastrophic collapse in World Economic Forum’s 2000 global competitiveness ranking should be a classic case study for the Convention On the Role of the Media in Non-Aligned Countries in Shah Alam beginning on Sept. 20.
Among the working papers to be discussed at the convention, which is to be opened by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, are "Media and Accountability in Non-Aligned Countries", "The Image of Islam in Media" and "The Western Media’s Role on Non-Aligned Countries".
In the workshop on "Media and Accountability in Non-Aligned Countries", the local mass media editorial bosses should explain how they could account for the blackout in both printed and electronic media, entering the fourth day, of the release of the World Economic Forum’s 2000 global competitiveness ranking, showing a catastrophic collapse of Malaysia’s international competitiveness rating by nine notches in the past year or 16 places in the past three years.
Malaysia slipped to 25th position from 16th last year, a fall of nine
notches. Since 1997, when Malaysia was ranked in the 9th position, the
country’s international competitiveness ranking had fallen disastrously
by 16 places.
The local mass media blackout of Malaysia’s catastrophic collapse in her competitiveness rating is one of the most blatant examples of unbalanced and irresponsible journalism in Malaysian history in recent times, especially as it signalled a major economic crisis for the country.
The local mass media should explain why until 1997, when Malaysia’s
competitiveness ranking was placed within the first top-ten, the annual
release of World Economic Forum’s international competitveness ranking
was given prominent coverage and even quoted extensively by Ministers in
Parliament to demonstrate the high international standing of our economy.
Is the role of the media in Malaysia and the non-aligned countries solely
to report good news and to suppress unfavourable news like the catastrophic
collapse of Malaysia’s competitiveness rating?