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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Whither MSM?

During my Form 5 or 6 I read about an incident that was hotly debated and it was taking place in Kedah at that time. It was in 1993 and it was the Kerpan prawn breeding project financed by the Ben Laden group from Saudi and the Malaysian government.

I remember this  particular news quite well as the news about this project was not well received by many affected Kedahan paddy planters who had to give up their paddy fields forcefully below the market price and turn themselves from being a paddy planter to being a prawn breeder overnight.

My source of information came from two papers which is The Star paper and Utusan Konsumer. I use to buy both from my school at a discounted rate. 

I noticed both these sources has got a different take on the same issue. One was advocating for the prawn breeding project to be realized and the other one was quite against it. Yup, I guess you know which one I'm talking about right?

The Star Paper was advocating what the government of the day was proposing to the Kerpan farmers. Their message seems to be that the Kerpan farmers do not know what is best for them and it is best for BN government to do all the talking, thinking and the decision making for the displaced farmers. 

The Utusan Konsumer was more critical in this project and its implementation. It was more concern about the welfare of the Kerpan farmers, the long term viability of this project and the inadequate compensation that the paddy farmers received from the powers that be. 

This made me to think why is that so. At that time I had no idea that The Star paper belongs to the MCA which is part of the ruling government but it just made me to think is The Star as the people's paper telling the whole truth? 

In my mind I knew The Star paper was only telling one side of the story and the other side was conveniently left out. Reading the Utusan Konsumer gave a much fresh and humane understanding of this Kerpan issue.

Fast forward to 2008 during GE12 most if not all of the main stream media (MSM) were only writing and publishing one sided stories which favoured the ruling BN government. It was so obvious and in some cases certain opposition leaders were attacked left and right and was not given the right to reply. None at all!

The opposition bashing was even more prominent during the eve of GE12. But this time the rakyat did not buy into their  stories or lies. The rakyat gave an almost point blank response that they want change in the status quo and this involves how the MSM are being run these days as well.

It was at this point of time I decided to stop buying and reading all MSM papers in this country!

Then came the GE13 and nothing has really change even though the MSM has been reprimanded time and again since the last GE12 for their coverage. They have totally lost their balance and seems bent on only giving lies after lies without any moral trepidation on their part. 

Just look at what Utusan Malaysia wrote about the Chinese voters post GE13. It is not only inflammatory but downright stupid and yet Utusan Malaysia managed to go scot free without any reprimand from anyone in the BN government or charges brought against them. So, who is dictating to whom now? 

Is it the party that owns the MSM or is the MSM now are dictating what their political bosses should do and say?

Does this mean the MSM has got the upper hand in also designing our national policies as well? If yes, who are the stakeholders they are getting input from? Are they from the likes of Perkasa, or from other race based parties such as MCA, MIC only or is it from a cross section of man and women on the street?

For the record these race based parties in BN has been the biggest losers not just in the last GE13 but they have been loosing badly in the last two GE's as well. 

If the MSM were to continue in this direction they will soon be annihilated as far as their circulation and bottom line are concern. Even as you are reading this many right thinking Malaysians have stopped their MSM subscriptions of this pure garbage that is polluting their minds. 

Malaysians today are blessed with choices for their source of news especially political news. And yet our MSM stubbornly holds on to their old way of thinking which is to polish their bosses apple (read: political masters) in regards to the truth that affects this nation. From being one-sided and biased they have graduated to become more arrogant in the way they present their news and editorials especially the ones that pretty well affects their political bosses.

Today, I manage to go through some pages in the The Star online for the heck of it. Nothing has change much really. Joceline Tan's writings on UMNO politics nearly made me to fall off my chair when she described Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the most charismatic from the three UMNO VP's. It was almost laughable and obnoxious to say the least.

Of all person how could The Star ever describe or imagine the Home Minister as charismatic? Is it because he speaks like a gangster and behaves as one also? Or is he charismatic because he holds the key to renew their printing and publication licenses year in and year out? Take your pick!

Even Dr Mahathir has clearly admitted that UMNO lacks decent leaders today what more a charismatic ones! 

The only conclusion that I can derive is that the MSM has been reading the signs of time wrongly or chose to read it wrongly  and somehow their interpretation and writing seems to be out of touch from the rakyat's thinking and feeling on the ground. They need to get OUT of their silo and be challenged to take the road less travelled. Are they willing to take up this task? Time is not on their side!

Lastly, if the The Star who is beholden to MCA can't even understand the plight and needs of the Chinese Malaysians who are also MCA only constituents how could they ever be the voice for all Malaysians? As I said they have simply lost touch and if no change were to happen and they continue to enjoy in their navel gazing style of writing it is a matter of time before their shareholders wakes up and demand a change for the better!

The same goes to all other MSM in this country. There was a time the MSM was the conscience and voice of the rakyat in this country and also in many parts of the world. Remember Utusan Melayu's role and the Malayan Union in 1946? 

Today the online media has replaced that role and readily become the prime mover of change in this country. Any action to stifle the integrity and freedom of the online media will be met with much scorn and opposition from various quarters.

By the way, the Kerpan project was a complete disaster contrary to what many of the MSM reported the project could be those days!

Kudos to Online Media!