The President of Malaysian National Union of Journalists Hata Wahari has issued a public call to Malaysian papers to stop being ‘propaganda tools’ of the Malaysian government.
In a press release, Mr Hata said:
“The union also asks editors of mainstream media especially Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and the The Star to play the role of disseminating information to the public and not as propaganda machinery of the government, political parties, or any individual.”
Mr Hata is responding to latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) showing decline in circulation in most Malaysian papers such as Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, The Star and Beritan Harian.
He also criticized ‘racist’ editors from Utusan Malaysia for flaming racial tensions and sentiments in Malaysia, leading to a 5.9 percent drop in its readership.
The Utusan group was founded in Singapore in 1939 by Singapore’s first President Yusok Ishak and a group of Malay intellectuals. Utusan Malaysia’s daily circulation has declined by nearly half from 350,000 ten years ago to only 170,000 now.
The proliferation of alternative news sites in Malaysia is fast eroding the readership and profitability of the Malaysian media which has often been decried as ‘propaganda mouthpieces’ of the Malaysian government.
Since 2008, the Malaysian new media has seen a dozen new players entering the scene such as The Malaysian Insider, The Malaysian Chronicle and Free Malaysia Today.
Singapore also has an association of journalists which is a toothless organization with little power or authority to take action against errant ‘journalists’, most of whom are under the payroll of Singapore Press Holdings, headed by a former PAP deputy prime minister.
Read the interesting comments from the New Temasek Review HERE