Monday, November 12, 2007

If not for the blogs & Al Jazeera...

IT'S impossible not to visit the various blogs anymore. Last weekend's march and street demonstration have compelled many to resort to visiting blogs to get news update which are not available from mainstream outlets such as radio and television.

From the hospital bed where my son was warded, I could see the traffic jam caused by the closure of several roads as the Police mounted road blocks, diverting traffic away from Dataran Merdeka where the crowd was supposed to have converged.

Friends were also forwarding text messages reminding each other to avoid certain routes. The telcos must have made tons of money, I thought to myself. And when friends alerted each other of long footage on Al Jazeera, woh, you can guess what happened next.

I wouldn't exactly agree with the way Al Jazeera covered the march. The station covered the more dramatic side of the event, showing how the Police had used water canons to disperse the crowd. If I'm overseas, I'd probably think that KL was on riot mode, and probably try catch the first flight back home.

I wasn't sure if the radio stations had given hourly bulletins of the march. I won't hazard a guess but I believe that keeping the public informed would have been a priority, given the possibillity that the march could get out of control. It's not as much as giving nationwide publicity to the march organisers, but more to alert the public against any potential danger.

When the public had to depend on sms, phone calls and Al Jazeera for updates, one begins to wonder where is the public service in public-owned radio stations? And TV too! And what if irresponsible elements were to spread ugly rumours...?

When May 13 broke out in 1969, Radio Malaysia was about the only source of news breaks. But they did well, alerting the public about the curfew that came soon after. Radio Malaysia did the responsible thing then. I remember staying glued to the old hand-me-down Grundig as my body trembled at the sight of flames from nearby Kg Kerinchi roads.

With information dissemination the way it is now, it's no longer possible to curb news flows. It's also irresponsible. In trying to win the intellectual battle, the authorities should do the right thing, unless they no longer care about their credibility.

One blog had 54 pictures of the Saturday march. Compare this with one Sunday newspaper which showed one picture of the massive traffic jam in KL. And then there's a prominent member of the Cabinet on world TV explaining his views with broken English. Painful, painful...

At the end of the day, one needs more than just the blogs, Al Jazeera and the dailies to get every information they want. But when the normal channel of information are not forthcoming, then you can't blame the public for sourcing their news and updates elsewhere. Agreed?

16 comments:

Melati Putih said...

Betul, Datuk. Apabila tidak ada rotan, akar pun berguna. Maka apabila tidak ada media kerajaan yang mampu/berjaya melaporkan hal sebenar sudah tentulah rakyat mencari-cari saluran media lain yang boleh memberikan apa yang mereka ingin/perlu tahu. Kalau hendak memutarbelitkan fakta pun biarlah kena pada tempatnya dan nampak logik. Bagaimana rakyat hendak percaya dengan media kerajaan kalau Bernama melaporkan 4,000 orang mengambil bahagian dalam demonstrasi Sabtu lalu. Tidakkah mereka tahu bahawa PICTURES TELL A THOUSAND WORDS? Siapakah yang hendak mereka perbodohkan - mereka sendiri, kerajaan atau rakyat?

Secara peribadi saya tidak bersetuju dengan tindakan berdemonstrasi dalam menuntut sesuatu kerana kesannya kepada rakyat dan negara AMAT SANGAT tidak baik. Tetapi dalam kelemahan pentadbiran pucuk pimpinan negara sekarang, tentulah ramai yang mengambil kesempatan. Jangan salahkan mereka tetapi cermin2lah diri.

Rocky's Bru said...

Agreed bro. Personally, it pained me that NST had blacked out the entire thing. It has become a true propaganda machine tool now. I know Syed Nadzri must be writhing in agony even now, not knowing how to face his friends, his reporters and his readers. Professionals like him have to endure this because there are mercenaries aboard the sinking ship. Well, that's what it is bro ... the ship's really sinking now.

I am hoping to do an analysis of what happened to our brothers in the newsrooms last Saturday. Who told them not to report, and why, later today.

Cheers.

A Melayu Without Class said...

Tok Mat,

ARE we seeing the manifestation of a true police state?

The police and the protesters fighting. But more like the police beating up protesters.

But the future may see the protesters fighting back like the European football hooligans.

What a scene. The majority Malayu marchers being beaten up, gassed and sprayed by Malayu riot policemen.

Where were those Cina and India who found nothing right with this country? If they are second class citizens as they often claim, they should be protesting like the first class Melayu for their hak and to get rid of the evil government via a fair election. Make KJ PM and we all get our meritocracy.

Alas, it's always the Melayu who take the blame and the bullets, and do the dirty job.

Put one power-crazy Melayu against another, and the rest sits back and waits for the durian to fall. My Cina friends all love durian. They have some of the best dusun durian in the country. How easy it's to exploit the Melayu from the top to the bottom.

What media are you talking about? They are all beholden to 4th Floor of PM's office. The political commissars are everywhere watching over Khalid, Chun Wai, Hisham, Manja dan Syed Nazri. It's worse than Gotham City. Climate of fear is everywhere and no Batman in sight. The City is doomed.

But they are sabotaging the PM by running headlines like "Saya pantang dicabar". So they rakyat responded by challenging him with their unauthorized march. Malunya.

Apakah pagar sedang makan padi? The empire is striking back?

To Mat, are we not actually witnessing the beginning of an end? I am afraid, very afraid we are. I fear for all of us. I am afraid that some of the Melayu may resort to amok.

Tun Teddy said...

couldn't agree more datuk!

galadriel said...

Cik Mat,

wot can we say...blogs are stepping into the gap created by the printing presses n publications act that is hung like the proverbial sword of damocles over our mainstream newspapers.

There is opportunity in adversity always. What Malaysian current affairs bloggers should exercise though is responsibility in writing.

As to the govt machinery's response, one can only say that old habit dies hard.

When I was a kid, if we spoke too much, dad would stare and we shut up immediately.

The government can't do that to its people. That it got used to getting away with it is because we allowed it.

Now, they still react in the same way, but we can't shut up, not in the face of so much wrongs unrectified.

The old school journos must surely be sakit when they have to blackout a newsworthy happening like the Bersih gathering.

itoBotak said...

Tok Mat

Bukankah media cetak dan electronic telah menghebuhkan tentang perhimpunan Kuning sebelum ini.

Tetapi mengapa mereka2 ini masih mahu berada dlm keadaan yg sebegini. Saya tidak paham, Tok Mat.

Pihak polis dan kerajaan telah memberi amaran supaya jgn berada atau bersama-sama semasa perhimpunan itu. Mungkin perkara2 buruk boleh berlaku. Almaklumlah dlm keadaan orang ramai. Kan tak pasal2 kena ketuk dgn pihak polis.

Tentang media cetak tidak melaporkan akan kejadian itu, saya pun kurang paham. Tapi YB Tok Mat kan pernah berkerja dgn media cetak yang sama satu ketika dulu, maafkan saya kalau saya tersilap.

Kalau betul, bolehkah kiranya YB Tok Mat terangkan apakah tindakkan yang akan Tok Mat ambil utk menerangkan pada rakyat dan pembaca akan keadaan sebegini.

Sebab saya ini salah seorang yang berminat membaca tulisan YB Tok Mat.

Ahmad A Talib said...

Dear commentators,

TQ for all your comments. I had a good laugh going through the transcript posted by Dol Keropok pertaining to an Al Jazeera interview with a Malaysian Minister. I had seen it when it was first shown and was pained by it.

Sdra Dol Keropok said the transcript can be viewed at blogger Kennysia.com. I'm not reproducing it here but visitors to Kenny's blog can have a good laugh or cry if you see it.

Bagi itoBotak, secara peribadi saya agak keberatan menyokong perarakan jalanan seperti yang berlaku tempoh hari. Ini kerana saya pernah mengalami kepedihan berikutan perarakan yang sama pada 1969. Dan saya tidak berhasrat mengajar pengamal media bagaimana mereka harus melakukan tugas apabila berhadapan dengan keadaan seperti minggu lepas. Terpulang kepada mereka memilih jalan terbaik bersesuaian dengan dasar dan jiwa kewartawanan mereka.

);-( Samurai said...

Dear Tok Mat,

If I may respond to Itobotak...
Saya pernah bertugas di akhbar yang sama dengan Tok Mat. Di zaman kami, semamsa reformasi, laporan tetap dikeluarkan bersama dengan gambar. Hanya untuk pembaca membuat perhitungan. Saya rasa jika masih di bawah pentadbiran yang sama (baca termasuk pentadbiran Kerajaan) dahulu, perkara sebegini tidak akan dinyahkan dari muka akhbar. Apatah lagi apabila terdapat saingan media alternatif lain. Kredibiliti media massa arus perdana haruslah dipertahankan sedikit sebanyak. Malangnya kita kini dibawah pentadbiran berbeza. Maka approach pun berbeza, persepsi berbeza. Is it the right thing to do? Pada saya janganlah kita terlalu diperboohkan. You can't fool people all the time... :)

kaki kepala batas said...

Member semua,

Media arus perdana sabo Pak Lah. Itu cerita sebenar. Mereka dah mainkan Pak Lah.
Mula-mula tak ramai orang tau pasai demo Bersih. Hanya blogger dan pembangkang saja heboh. Kami di Kepala Batas tak tau pun. Kami dengar-dengar macam tu saja.
Tapi bila media perdana mula kutuk, kami pun berminat. Kami nak tau apa yang depa dok kutuk.
Apalah lagi bila Utusan petik Pak Lah kata “Saya pantang dicabar”. Dok tak dok satu Malaysia tau. Yang tak tau pun jadi tau, yang tak berminat pun jadi berminat.
Bila Pak Lah jerkah, depa jerkah baliklah. Bila Pak Lah cabar, depa cabar baliklah. Tu yang ramai pi demo.
Kalau harap blogger saja berapa ramai tau. Adalah yang tau, tapi tak banyaklah. Ni Utusan, Straight Time, Star, RTM main semua orang tahu la.
Jadilah cerita harap kat pagar, pagar makan padi. Inilah yang tok nenek kita kata sokong bawak rebah. Tahniahlah Utusan…Saya pantang dicabar!
Ini semua cerita wai ya wi kafa dan albaladil mahbu Ghazal Party Kepada Batas.

Anonymous said...

Journalists will suddenly be professional when they retired.

Zawi said...

Datuk,
Congratulations on your wonderful and sensible discussion on RTM1 this morning. I didn't recognize you initially and I excitedly alerted Maria Samad to view the live discussion. Being a blogger yourself, you spoke well about the need to read blogs to get informations not available on MSM. I guess the information minister must be fuming at RTM for inviting you to be on the panel. Thank you Datuk.

maria a samad (kak ton) said...

bro,

That was a good interview you gave on TV1 just now.

Dont normally watch TV1 or TV2 for obvious reasons.

I am thankful someone alerted me abt the programme while it was ongoing.

Unfortunately, I only managed to catch the end part of the programme.

Salam to your family.

Ahmad A Talib said...

Dear Maria and Zawi,

TQ for your views. I found the short TV appearanace interesting 'cos it helped to advanced the views that bloggers are here to stay and the authorities need to engage them. I must give credit to the producers of RTM's Selamat Pagi Malaysia for having such a discussion on air.

Ahmad A Talib said...

Dear Anon 1145

U know a journalist is a professional when he puts his name to his articles.

Zawi said...

Datuk,
Very apt answer. One who hides behind anonymity and dares only to use initials is definitely unprofessional.

muststopthis said...

Dato,
Demonstration is not the right thing to do. But lets analyse the Nov 10 march....it was a march. No protest. No demonstration. No sloganeering. No inciting. Just marching to the palace..... However, instaed of giving the permit, and lining up 1000 polocemen (which was more than sufficient from dataran to the istana) they chose to stop the march.
When the voice of dissent grows, no amount of force is sufficient.
I was there, and so were many other Malaysians. Why do some people want to draw the difference between races, I do not know. To mw, a free and fair elections for the country may be the only way to have a balanced government, one that does not blind the rakyat, and one that does not spend money like water....