Media Crackdown Imminent?


I’ll bet my favourite nasi lemak bungkus that it happens.

This is February 2009.

In March, there is a power handover that signals the end of the Abdullah administration.

The “heir apparent” has has already sharpened his claws and is now straining the leash.

From what I hear, editors were told in no uncertain terms that their coverage of Kuala Terengganu elections would be monitored, and to expect payback if they “transgressed”.

Media coverage of even bread and butter issues in Pakatan Rakyat states are difficult because the powers that be objects to any positive coverage given the reps of the incumbent government.

Petty. Childish. Best ignored.

And yet such pettiness and childishness from those at the top of the power heap, can signal much anguish for the people. Not to mention the future of the country.

Tian Chua warns of a new media crackdown. Not surprising considering the rest of what’s written here.

For now the Home Ministry is concentrating on the Opposition rags. Never mind the equally mind-numbing, racist, rabble-rousing garbage written in the likes of Berita Hairan and Utusan Meloya.

Not long before the crackdown extends to the rest. The Star represents an interesting conundrum though.

On one hand it is ruling coalition-owned. On the other hand, MCA post-March 8 is a different animal altogether. Add to that the fact that it is headed by a former party outsider who has been putting his own praetorian guard in place.

Ong Tee Keat and the new MCA may not be on the same page as BN on all issues. This is sure to give The Star’s editorial policymakers a tough time.

What I’m trying to say is, The Star is not above a KDN warning. A painful Ops Lalang more than 2 decades ago is still not forgotten. Which is a sad predicament for the paper to be in. Because in the aftermath of last year’s election disaster, this was one paper that had tried to change and be more objective.

The Sun? I don’t know. I’m not so sure about this paper that tries so much to please the people but somehow sounds dodgy after a while. Some issues raised are valid, true enough, but the elements of “masuk bakul, angkat sendiri” is unbecoming of a news rag, know what I mean?

NST? Don’t read it enough to form an opinion.

Malay Mail is lost. Enough said.

Malaysiakini? Come on. This net paper is the opposite side to the mainstream media. The slant here is obvious.

Far less obvious is the business weekly’s The Edge slant, though I know which way they are inclined. Entertaining, insightful pieces are found here though.

Malaysia Insider tries outwardly to be objective, despite the initial “pro-Khairy” bad mouthing it suffer. The Nut Graph shows some effort, but suffers still from anonymity in a world dominated by giants like Malaysia Today, which is more of a news/view/gossip portal for every political goings on in the country.

I don’t read Mandarin or Tamil, so I can’t say much about Sin Chew, Nanyang, Tamil Nesan and the rest, but I don’t think any of them mentioned above can be assured of immunity from government persecution in the months to come.

This is a government that has long forgotten that it owes a duty of accountability to the people who elected it to power. Even March 8, 2008 have not cured them of their arrogance, the recent Perak ugliness suggests.

To me, it just reinforces the popular view that Umno and Barisan Nasional is a corrupt, evil caucus that has outlived its usefulness.

I’ll best another nasi lemak bungkus, that any candidate fielded by Pakatan Rakyat in the coming by-elections in Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang will win.

Simply because Umno is being Mugabe.

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