In the short space of two years since it was first launched on November 20, 1999, Malaysiakini has deservedly won three prestigious international journalism awards, the Press Freedom Award by Reporters Sans Frontieres in January 2000, the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in November 2000 and the Media Pioneer Award by the International Press Institute in January 2001.
Malaysians rejoice at the conferment of these international awards to Malaysiakini, as the daily news website had made an undoubted impact in Malaysian journalism, politics and national affairs in its independent reporting, in-depth analysis and investigative journalism.
Malaysiakini has the support of Malaysians and the civil society in its commitment to “test and push the boundaries of free speech and press freedom in Malaysia by providing credible and up-to-date news and analysis through unbiased reporting, regular updates, editorials and opinion pieces … to counter the culture of self-censorship in the mainstream media”. Malaysians hope that Malaysiakini’s greatest contribution would be to end the journalistic desert in Malaysia, seeding a vibrant, vigorous, independent and responsible mass media in the country.
Malaysiakini should therefore exert its utmost not only to cherish its hard-earned credibility and reputation but be a role model for the mainstream media by guarding against lapses from the highest standards of professionalism and journalistic ethics and blatant manipulation by certain people with specific agendas. Malaysiakini should in particular uphold the journalistic maxim “Opinions are free but facts are sacred”.
On Wednesday, Malaysiakini in a report entitled “Party members uneasy
over Lim’s new secular front bid”, stated:
“According to a party member who requested anonymity, DAP has seen divisions within the party on a number of issues and this included last week’s proposal for a new secular front.
“’With life advisor Dr Chen (Man Hin) out of the scene, Karpal Singh (deputy chairman), Kerk Kim Hock (secretary-general), and M Kulasegaran (central committee member) are the main ones keeping the party honest in not having any misadventure with the BA before the next general elections,’ said the party member.
“Keeping the party out of the so-called misadventures with the BA became necessary when Lim’s attendance at Keadilan’s annual general assembly in Kemaman, Terengganu in November caught the DAP’s central executive committee by surprise.
“’The assumption was that no leader would be going,’ the party member told malaysiakini.
“It is believed that Lim received a personal invitation from Keadilan president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
“Wan Azizah, however, was not aware that some in her party had planned an embarrassment for Lim when Women’s chief Fuziah Salleh call on DAP members to ‘defect’ to Keadilan, said the member.
“Just as there are those in the DAP wanting to ensure the party stays out of the BA, there are also people in the BA who want the same, said the member.”
This Malaysiakini report violated the journalistic maxim “Opinions are free but facts are sacred” because when I attended the KeAdilan AGM in Kemamam on 10th November 2001, it was with the approval of the DAP Central Executive Committee which met three days earlier on 7th November 2001.
Malaysiakini should also safeguard its credibility and reputation by ensuring that it is not manipulated for specific agendas by certain people, including some who have developed life-long obsessions to indugle in DAP-bashing and even Lim Kit Siang-bashing.
On the same day of the above-mentioned Malaysiakini article which substituted fiction for fact, there were six letters in Malaysiakini indulging in DAP-bashing and Lim Kit Siang-bashing - which appeared to be all penned by the same person, who is quite well known for such multiple personalities to manufacture the impression of an all-round attack on the DAP and myself.