There has been much flak against the mainstream newspapers, especially the mouthpieces of political parties like MCA and Umno. We all know how one-sided the newspapers are. NST, Utusan and Berita Harian are pro-Umno while The Star is pro-MCA. In other words, these newspapers are all pro-BN.
I don't know how it is like with the Chinese vernacular newspapers since I'm literally illiterate when it comes to Chinese. It can be Greek for all I know. But it was my understanding that some are also pro-BN while there are also some that are daring in reporting mostly the truth. Much like the Chinese version of well-known online media, Malaysiakini. Don't ask me which ones, I don't know. If you can read Chinese, go ahead and do your own research.
Anyway, why is it that the Chinese newspapers are able to provide fair and sometimes overly supportive of the Opposition news while the other English / Malay newspapers can't? Except for The Sun which presents quite fair reports compared to its competitors, my guess, is that those other papers were just plain lily-livered. And protecting their rice bowls.
Lets take a look at The Star. I am sure many of the top management who were there for donkey years could still remember Operation Lalang and how they became jobless when the paper was shut down temporarily many years ago. Losing your income is no small joke. We all work for an income and I am sure all the people working there do it for the monthly salary too. So, with that experience still fresh in mind and with the MCA boss keeping them in check, it is no wonder they could not stray far from the pre-determined path set by the BN government.
As for the other papers, there is only one word for it. Their main purpose is to be the mouthpiece of the BN. Nothing else. Also, the people working there are there because they want an income. Nothing else.
Do note, however, that the people I am referring to are the small fries, they underdogs, the kulis, the workers who are just earning an income and not the top guns and the decision makers who are so filthy rich, they do not need a job but they are doing it for their own agenda.
Then, there is our national news agency, Bernama, which should actually be the BN news agency because they are so pro-BN, they are literally the BN newsletter. Understandably, they are paid by the government and the government is still the BN. But why the bias? Aren't they the national news agency? As a wire service, they should be fair and apolitical in their reportings but unfortunately, that is not so.
As for The Sun, this small free daily is making quite an impact with its exposes and hard-hitting news. It is too bad that it is quite thin and does not provide enough coverage for all the states. I can only hope that it will expand and provide more for its readers. Still, it is quite careful with its reportings. There are still some pro-BN stuff but not as many as the others.
So, why is it that our mainstream newspapers are so biased? Simple, it is all explained in a six letter word. The Printing Presses and Publications Act.
This stupid Act stipulates that printing / publishing license or permit must be renewed annually. And the Ministry in charge have the right to grant or deny any permit. They also have the right to restrict or ban outright publications 'that is likely to endanger national security interest or create social unrest'. Or so they said. More like they are worried the truth will have the people voting for the Opposition!
Although our constitution allow freedom of speech for the press, it is only merely for show. With this Act combined with the Internal Security Act, freedom of speech is limited and restricted. All for the sake of security or public order.
Hmm...it seems that reporting the truth and nothing but the truth is a threat to security and public order, huh? No, wonder, the newspapers are so cowed into compliances. They don't want to be responsible for any riots arising from their reports.
Although one wonders why it is okay for the newspapers to fan the anger of the Malays over the NEP issue just because it is perceived to be detrimental to the DAP state government while it is not okay to report positive things which puts the DAP in a good light? How does positive news create public unrest?
So, why aren't the Chinese newspapers so controlled by the Act? Easy, because they are only being read by a minority group of people (or so the BN government thought) so the rulings are quite lax when it comes to them.
It is no wonder that many have turned towards the online media in the likes of Malaysiakini where the truth are often reported (although, they too have their own agendas and truths are also skewed to their own agendas).
It is also no wonder people are boycotting the mainstream newspapers in frustration over the unfair news coverage. And it it no wonder that many bloggers are hitting out at these newspapers for their biasness.
Well, I for one have given up believing what I read in the newspapers nowadays unless I get it confirmed by reliable sources.
We do not have freedom of speech, no freedom of press and definitely no freedom and no full democracy under the BN administration. So, why are they still the federal government?