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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

‘Western media no purveyors of truth’

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:53 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Mahathir snubs Western journalists for being no better than those they criticise.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has knocked Western journalists off their “moral high ground”, saying they, too, are not above sidelining human rights to serve their own interests.
His latest blog post referred to the high-profile telephone hacking scandal in the United Kingdom, which involved British tabloid, News of The World.
The 168-year-old paper, owned by powerful media mogul Rupert Murdoch, was forced to shut down after its journalists were accused of being engaged in phone hacking and police bribery.
Mahathir said that Malaysians are so used to the moral high ground taken by the Western press that they cringe when the former criticises Malaysia over its poor human rights records and injustices perpetrated against others.

“We feel they are right, that they, unlike us, have and obey high ethical codes, that they are honest and straightforward,” he said.
“It is shocking to find that they are no better than us, that given half a chance they would cheat and abuse their positions, that they would forget human rights.”
Mahathir said that it was now public knowledge that Western MPs use public funds to furnish their homes, claim excessive traveling allowances and that their governments sell titles.
And now, he added, the world was witnessing Murdoch admitting that his paper had been hacking telephones to listen in on private conversations for subsequent reporting in the paper.
“We hear of bribes given to soften reports by journalists about all kinds of shenanigans by powerful people,” he said. “And their politicians are just as afraid of the press as we are.”
Mahathir said that while he agreed to the media’s role in stopping immorality by public figures and acting as a watchdog to oversee the possible impropriety of government policies and practices, it should not abuse its rights either.
He deemed many of the Western media reports on Malaysia as “far from the truth” and noted that a negative report is often echoed by other countries without prior attempt to verify the facts.

Nastier reports
Mahathir used himself as an example in that he was reported to have practised cronyism, manipulated the judiciary and thrown his deputy (Anwar Ibrahim) into jail.
“After that every journalist when reporting about Malaysia must mention (these same items),” he said. “For that matter, every book written about Malaysia must include these items.”
“The words of the first journalist who reported this must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No amount of refuting the allegations by anyone would be accepted.”
Mahathir said that while Western journalists have long been suspected of accepting bribes, the hacking scandal confirmed that they are not the purveyors of truth that they are supposed to be.
“They will deny it of course,” he said. “They will write nastier reports on those who criticise them. But the fact remains that they are as unprincipled and corrupt as the people they allege to have these failings.”
“I write this piece not because I expect the Western journalist to repent or change. They will not change, especially in their opinion of native leaders who thumb noses at the West.”
“I write simply to draw attention to the fact that Western journalists, with very few exceptions, are not the impartial purveyors of truth that people assume them to be.”

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