Sunday, 20 July 2008
Media Bias Malaysian Style.
Utusan Malaysia, TV3 and NST practice media bias which contravene standards of sound journalism and put their journalistic merits to question because of:
+++1 supporting governmental ‘feeding frenzy’ and pushing for pack journalism. The tendency of these media to move on to issues of the government’s best interest without providing follow-ups of previous cases intends to promote bandwagon fallacy.
E.g.; the Altantuya murder case and the alleged involvement of ‘prominent political figures’ in it.
+++2 downplaying the opposition without providing substantial and objective reason for doing so. Manipulation of information by way of alteration, restriction etc.
E.g.; expressing support for action taken by the police (calling in of lawyers for interrogations) even after being proven, unlawful (by the bar council).
+++3 sensationalizing minority views (government officials).
E.g.; the ‘wholesaling’ of Anwar’s DNA issue. Just recently; the statement made by Ibrahim Ali. This statement is fallacious for it does not address the questionable transparency and accountability of the government as a whole (amidst of ongoing trials involving the AG and the IGP).
+++4 The journalists of these media generally and senselessly accept the faulty notion that the government’s collective intentions are benevolent, despite occasional mistakes.
E.g.; turning blind eyes to vulgar signs and statements made by government parliament members such Bung Mokhtar of Kinabatangan and Hamidah Osman of Sungai Rapat and refusing to use means necessary to persuade the government to take disciplinary actions / such, against these figures.
+++5 These media mock the adversarial system of point/counterpoint by organizing biased poles, forums and debates.
E.g.; although the Shabery-Anwar debate was not directly organized by RTM, the tight control exercised by some factions within the government onto popular media can be clearly seen through;
1> the person/body organizing the debate failed to choose people who really represent the breadth of opinion (PM or TPM);
2> the person/body organizing the debate failed to ask non-prejudicial questions and to edit or arbitrate their comments fairly;
3> the person/body organizing the debate applauded the attacking of Anwar’s character done by Shabery (Argumentum ad Hominem) while obviously, the debate is about oil price.
***Citizens must avoid self-censorship by reading divergent sources and maintaining a critical perspective on the media in order to make informed choices and participate effectively in the public policy process.***
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