In fact, with the MCA acquisition of the Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd, the two Chinese dailies in its stable of holdings, Nanyang Siang Pau and China Press, come under double jeopardy: firstly, political interference by the MCA and secondly, interference by UMNO and UMNO proxies
Dismissing the overwhelming objections and criticisms of the Chinese community of any MCA takeover of the two Chinese newspapers, MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik cited the MCA-owned Star as an example that the party does not interfere in the newspaper business which is run by “a professionally good board and has very good reporters”.
Ling was being too ingenious in his denial of MCA political interference with the Star, when everybody knows that Star journalists who really believes in journalistic independence, ethics and responsibility and do not go along with the MCA slant of news and views would find themselves in “conventry” very soon or outside the establishment altogether.
When Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press come under direct MCA ownership and control, they would be important vehicles in the desperate battle of the MCA to restore the support of the Chinese community - which has reached such a crisis level that the Prime Minister has to take the unprecedented decision to appoint two Chinese as his special aides to understand what is happening in the Chinese community.
This would greatly undermine and compromise the professionalism, independence
and integrity of the journalists in the two Chinese newspapers.
There is however a second jeopardy faced by the two Chinese newspapers after the MCA takeover, putting them directly under the influence and control of UMNO and UMNO proxies as well.
The recent media episode over the controversy of SPM high-achievers who could not be admitted to universities is a case in point. The UMNO-owned Berita Harian launched an attack not only against me but also against the Star, MCA and Gerakan for being communalistic over the issue, and it is most astonishing that none of the trio dared to reply or rebut the Berita Harian onslaughts.
If MCA-owned Star and MCA itself could be the subject of criticisms
and attack by UMNO-owned Berita Harian, with neither one of them daring
to defend itself, one can envisage that Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press
after MCA takeover would be under intense influence or pressure of
UMNO or UMNO proxies like Berita Harian if they are perceived to be “out
As the MCA takeover of Nanyang Press Holdings Bhd will put the two Chinese newspapers its publishes under double jeopardy, MCA should issue a Charter of Press Freedom to be monitored by an independent panel. Such a Charter should guarantee MCA’s respect for the independence, professionalism and integrity of the journalists in Nanyang Siang Pao and China Press as well as promising no interference, whether direct or indirect, in the news and editorial management, conduct and policy of the two dailies.