A Battle of the Online Media erupted recently with a flurry of speculation, allegations and hurried denials by their respective editors.
The still unfolding saga started with the two English online media – both which Umno senator Ezam Mohd Noor once threatened to ‘burn’ (read here) – with one, The Malaysian Insider, reporting that the other, Malaysiakini, was in talks to give its news to The Malay Mail in exchange for shares in the newspaper.
The Insider article by editor Jahabar Sadiq titled ‘Umno realigns media units with eye towards polls‘ prompted Malaysiakini CEO Premesh Chandran to issue an immediate denial and editor-in-chief Steven Gan to write a rebuttal the next day.
The melodramatic ‘langkah mayat kami’ is in response to Malaysia Chronicle which carried the following articles:
- The Malay Mail-Malaysiakini saga by YL Chong, ex-editor of Malaysiakini
- Malaysiakini owns up / Malaysiakini mengaku
- No retraction at all: Malaysiakini selling out to Umno?
- Malaysiakini sah bincang dengan The Malay Mail
For the record, Chronicle editor Wong Choon Mei was formerly an editor with Malaysiakini.
Yup, lots of editors tripping all over each other. Another former one is Chuah Siew Eng (click) who wrote a defence of Malaysiakini.
Insider and Malaysiakini’s Cina Bangsar readers
This blog previously did a short posting on the Malaysian Insider readers giving 729 thumbs down to a guy ‘Ahmad’ who made a critical comment about Namewee (read here).
But let’s now take a look at the Malaysiakini readership.
Premesh in his statement had said:
“There is no truth in the allegations that Malaysiakini will be sold to Umno-backed interests.”
He also added that the news portal [Chronicle] made no attempt to contact Malaysiakini for verification.
I had put in a comment in response to Premesh (screenshot below).
Please allow me to explain:
Premesh had complained about his rival on the very same thing that his own media company is doing, that is, making no attempt to ascertain the veracity of a report by first contacting the person (badmouthed in their Malaysiakini articles) to seek clarification.
For example, would Ummi Hafilda Ali have filed her RM100 million defamation lawsuit against Malaysiakini as second defendant if the reporter had made an attempt to get her side of the story?
What I said about Malaysiakini allowing its readers to simply post vile abuse and libelous slurs plucked from thin air — without an ounce of substantiation — can be easily glimpsed in the Comments section to the Ummi article, or indeed in any one of their articles feedback where the person(s) targetted are disdained by the Pakatan supporters.
Below is a screenshot of personal attacks made by Malaysiakini readers on Chua Soi Lek’s son, with one of the Anonymice even asking Chua Tee Yong to do a DNA check to determine his paternity — an insult which implies that Mrs Chua had cheated on her husband.
(Taken from Malaysiakini 25 Jan 2011 article, ‘Tee Yong’s U-turn on alcohol row’/Credit: HartalMSM)
Do the readers possess an iota of proof to back up all their vicious and wild accusations that get published in Malaysiakini?
Thus I believe that my comment yesterday directed at Malaysiakini CEO Premesh about allowing his readers “to post accusations by the truckloads that have ‘no truth’ in them” is a valid rebuke.
And guess what?
Plus more of the same. So there you go — the Bangsar Malaysia readership. Malaysiakini is after all the favourite hangout of the Malaysian First crowd because being the most supportive of their idols. The second favourite watering hole is the Malaysian Insider.
The last time Ezam mengamok and made threats against the Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini. This time around, he’s learned to control himself and made a police report instead, requesting the authorities to probe the latter portal for its “sikap biadap, kurang ajar, dan melampaui batas” .