3 May 2012 – UN World Press Freedom Day – GLOBAL BERSIH PRESS STATEMENT

3 May 2012 – UN World Press Freedom Day
Don’t do business with mainstream media, says Global Bersih
“CORPORATE citizens in Malaysia should seriously reconsider doing business with the mainstream media because of grossly unethical reporting of Bersih’s Duduk Bantah rally,” Global Bersih said.
Describing some media organisations as “being totally detrimental to the future of democracy in Malaysia”, the coalition of overseas Malaysians said: “We call upon advertisers and sponsors who help fund these organisations to pay heed to their moral compass and ask themselves, ‘What are we doing to Malaysia?’
“Businesses that advertise or enter into sponsorship with these groups must realise that they are supporting blatant distortion and misrepresentation over Bersih’s Saturday rally.
“It is morally and ethically wrong. This practice must stop if Malaysians are to progress and save our democracy from further damage.”
Speaking on the UN-designated World Press Freedom Day, Global Bersih said: “The continuing failure of Malaysia’s mainstream media to accurately reflect Malaysian society is a tragedy that must end.
“The scandal behind censorship of the BBC report on last Saturday’s events is only the tip of the iceberg. The vague and inadequate excuses given by Astro for censoring the BBC’s and Al Jazeera’s reports on Bersih 3.0 only serve to betray the trust of their audience and customers.”
Global Bersih also pointed to Radio-Television Malaysia, TV3 and newspapers Utusan Malaysia, The Star and The New Straits Times as clear examples of an apparently orchestrated program of gross distortion and manipulation of events using long-discredited methods that echo the censorship programs of the Nazis’ Goebbels and others.
“Put together, their coverage of Duduk Bantah represented the total failure of Malaysia’s licensed mainstream media to provide a professional, accurate and fair news service,” Global Bersih said.
“When a quarter-million Malaysians rallied for free and fair elections, The New Straits Times could only headline their report with ‘Day of shame’. The day after Malaysians risked life and limb in the name of democracy, The Starwould only report ‘Big mess after Bersih’.
“This is Malaysian journalism at its most evil.
“Duduk Bantah was a chapter in Malaysia’s history that will resound for generations.
“Journalism is the first draft of history, and these media companies totally failed the nation when they abdicated their responsibility to record these events truthfully.”
Global Bersih also said NST’s description of Australian Senator Nick Xenophon as anti-Islam was a vile act that further devalued the newspaper’s long history. “Senator Xenophon was understandably ‘gobsmacked’ that the NST could stoop so low in its blatant lie.
“The editors and proprietors of these media groups know full well Malaysia’s electoral system is in dire need of repair, but in deliberately misrepresenting Duduk Bantah and its historic achievement, they are by default supporting a system that denies free and fair elections.
“Ultimately, media companies that embarked on censorship of Duduk Bantah knowingly inflicted fundamental damage on civil society and democracy.”
Reporters and their editors should reflect on their actions on this auspicious day for journalism, Global Bersih said.
“Journalists from Malaysia’s press were attacked, even by federal police, and these other organisations failed to offer fair reporting of the violence that was inflicted on their professional colleagues.
“Malaysia’s mainstream media has betrayed Malaysia and Malaysians,” Global Bersih said.
Global Bersih
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