Media Free In Covering Election

March 06, 2008 KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 (Bernama) — There is media freedom in covering the country’s 12th general election, said BERNAMA Chairman, Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Annuar Zaini.
He said there should not be accusations that the mainstream media (MSM) are overly biased towards the ruling party as the same was being practised by media belonging to the opposition.
He said each media organisation in their wisdom would show loyalty to their owners and if there were accusations of unfairness, it should also be seen in the light of media published by owners who are closely connected to opposition parties.
“The accusers should also read materials published by the opposition parties, their publishers too are very loyal to them. This is the nature of media practice in the country,” he said when interviewed as a pannelist on a special current affairs talkshow titled “Media dan Pilihan Raya” (The Election and the Media) on Radio Television Malaysia’s TV1 channel Wednesday night.
Touching on certain groups said to be unhappy about the election coverage by the MSM, he said it was caused by their own lack of objectivity as they had already taken sides and refused to accept the facts presented to them.
Annuar said the problem with such people was that they “only saw what they wanted to see”.
To a caller to the show who claimed that an English newspaper did not give a chance for the opposition to air their views, he quoted a survey which showed the daily mentioned gave about 25.8 per cent of its news coverage to news about the opposition.
He said 45 more per cent of space in the newspaper constituted neutral news which added up to 70.8 per cent leaving only a paltry sum for government parties.
“As such it is incorrect to say mainstream media are biased and don’t give room for news on the opposition although we do not deny there are some who don’t (give any room for the opposition),” he said, adding that any accusations made should be backed up with facts.
He also wanted the media when making criticisms to do so in a fair manner, saying Bernama TV, which was launched on Feb 29, had also been told the same, to broadcast news that was factual and not slight people.