Monday, May 14, 2012

Media Scams - Bersih 3.0

Even with the rise of the Internet, mainstream media still dominates the news market. Most people in all countries would follow news on the TV because of its convenience and supposed-to-be accuracy. The news reports would release latest news from the government as well, which is essential. People who depend on online news would likely face over-feeding of information from different sources and have the problem of differentiating the truthfulness of reports.

However, in some countries, the media is well controlled by the government such that news can be covered up to make the government look good. News may also tend to be biased against opposition parties. The World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders is one way to judge the accuracy of the press in all countries.

One of the worst presses in the world currently is Syria's, where the government prevents foreign reporters to enter the country and its state controlled media has been broadcasting about how the government is well-liked by its citizens when many parts of the country are having regular protest against the government. Many houses have been destroyed by the government in the name of warring against "terrorists" who have taken up arms after their peaceful protests have been cracked down deadly by the government.

There are endless ways that state controlled media can be propaganda or be used to cover up flaws of the government. For example, when two politicians from the ruling and opposition parties are at loggerheads, the newspaper can use an uglier photo of the opposition politician so that he or she would look bad, painting a bad image over him. If video recording is included, the news on TV can put the argument of the ruling party's politician last so as to create an impression that he or she is the final winner. When there is a chaos caused by public transport operators' lack of preparation, state media can start filming when situations are better controlled or filming can be done at places that look neater. When high ranking government officers are involved in crimes and are being sacked immediately before trial, the media can focus on the word "ex officer" to make the government look better.

Recently, Astro (in Malaysia) has censored news from BBC and Al-Jazeera on the footage of Bersih 3.0. Malaysian Police said 25,000 had attended the demonstration but rally organisers said 250,000 protested.

Original Astro Broadcast of BBC News

Original BBC news with Astro Broadcast of BBC News

"You can clearly see that it was edited if you look at the rolling text. The broadcast was about 5-7 minutes behind schedule, so they had time to remove parts."

From Sarawak Report:
We revealed that viewers in Malaysia saw 30 seconds less of the report than people watching the same news bulletin across the rest of the world.

These crucial seconds included a scene of a police officer apparently shooting at peaceful civilians and also statements by demonstrators explaining why they had taken to the streets to protest at election rigging.

The removal of these sequences could be judged to have introduced a bias away from the more even-handed and objective approach of the original report, in an attempt to show the police and the government in a better light.

However, as the resulting discussion has revealed, this form of “self-censorship’ by press and broadcast licence holders is commonplace in Malaysia. In order to keep their licences, organisations have to abide by a ‘Content Code’ laid down by the BN regime.

From The Malaysian Insider:

Following the election watchdog’s last July 9 rally, censors had blacked out parts of an article in The Economist, which had called Putrajaya’s handling of the event overzealous.

The article titled “Taken to the cleaners — an overzealous government response to an opposition rally” had chronicled the chaos on July 9 when police fired chemicals to disperse tens of thousands who had gathered to demand electoral reforms.

Among the parts blacked out were mentions of the heavy-handedness by the police and accusations that the government had withdrawn its offer for protesters to use a stadium for the rally.

The Home Ministry had also used black ink to blot out portions of the article that mentioned the death of one protester and the alleged bombardment of chemicals into the compound of the Tung Shin Hospital.

More news on Bersih 3.0 video doctored can be found at CNA
and Free Malaysia Today.

There are also some videos that show very nasty stuffs...

State controlled media is a "double edged sword". When being used in a good way, it helps to keep the country more stable. However, it is also a deadly weapon used by autocratic rulers all over the world to control the minds of their citizens.

Nevertheless, the emerging of the Internet has not only provided sources to alternate voices, but also helped to tune down the propaganda from governments in order to avoid losing more credibility.

It is always good to rely on a few different sources of news from the Internet. Do read the comments posted by visitors and analyse the information before making your own judgement.

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