Here’s a dialogue from a favourite movie of mine, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
SOAP: Oh, you assume, do ya? What do they say about assumption being the brother of all f**k-ups?
TOM: It’s the mother of f**k-ups, stupid!
SOAP: Well, excuse me, brother, mother or any other sucker, doesn’t make any difference…
Now, you more or less understand that the Assumption is more or less the first family of all f**k-ups.
Everybody does. Or so we assume. Huh huh…remember what I said about assumption again?
Looking back at the events of the recent past in Malaysia, I can’t help but think that lots of red faces, anger, frustration and consternation would have been avoided if the players involved just stopped to think instead of assuming that everything will be alright cos it did in the past.
Rais Yatim assumed, when he got Information as well as Communications in his Ministry, that it gave him carte blanche to play Big Brother.
And of course, the assumption of this guy, just like most people in the rickety old BN, is that all mainstream media must reflect the views and the policies of the government of the day.
They should not be critical. It is “not on” for RTM to cover any Opposition news. And it should only be flattering to the BN posse and their likes.
Well, is it surprising then that the Malaysian public distrusts the govt, are revolted by the stuff they see on RTM 1, RTM 2 and even the Media Prima stable of TV channels.
So they go online. Malaysia’s online population is above average. 62 % or nearly 16 million. And newspaper readership is shrinking.
Now to address the loss of trust, perhaps Mr 1 Malaysia could start with some egalitarian media policies you know.
Hey, stop laughing!
I’m an idealistic idiot, I know. But being government owned doesn’t mean you can be an objective, critical media. In some countries they take pride in an independent media.
Of course, they are very few and far in between.
Still, government owned media is in a precarious position to uphold that “impartiality” principle.
Still, you could try, right? Like the BBC before the Lord Hutton episode a few years ago. Lord Hutton, was the Lord Chief Justice in the UK at the time and in his leanings and decisions, could be compared to our own Tun Hamid Omar or dear old Fairuz of the Lingam saga.
That was really Tony Blair govt leaning on the BBC for having the temerity to chide them for going to war with Iraq over suspect evidence of George Bush’s WMD.
The entire journalism community of Britain knew that it was a BBC that was being victimised. Its chairman Gavin Davies and MD Greg Dyke both left BBC in protest.
I suppose no one in RTM or the mainstream media has the testicular fortitude to take on the might of the ruling coalition. Cari makan laa.
These principles, honesty, duty to public and all that chestnut, are dispensable, especially when you and your kin could be called to Bukit Aman to “assist with investigations”.
The public, who knows it has no choice but to flip to the other side of divide to read Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider or The Nut Graph.
Or opinion portals like the hugely popular Malaysia Today and some blogs.
Or the political party media like Harakah, or Suara Keadilan.
So the dubious Perak government decision not to invite the new media yesterday, is an ill-advised one.
Because it is continuing to demonstrate that 1 Malaysia or not, the BN government doesn’t recognise new media and its opinion-shaping potential.
Because it signals that BN is still ignorant/oblivious/willfully blind to the grassroot reality.
Because it doesn’t help the 1Malaysia CEO’s image one bit.
Because it signals that the BN govt in Perak are intolerant of any form of dissent and criticism.
Because it tells the people that Zambry and his band of merry men still live in the stone age.
Because it tells you that for all his Phd, Zambry doesn’t think all that much.
Sad, but nothing new in Malaysia. Nothing new in the world.
And don’t expect the mainstream media folks to stand up and cry foul over the exclusion of their new media colleagues.
What balls those editors had, is all shrivelled up after the pre-Kuala Terengganu ultimatum by Mr 1Malaysia himself.