Dr M: I blog because of unfair media coveragePosted: June 1, 2008
PETALING JAYA, May 31 (Bernama) — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Saturday he became a blogger as he no longer gets fair coverage in the mainstream media.
He said the blog was an alternative medium for him to voice his opinion without any obstacles.
“I am being blocked and not allowed to deliver speeches. My speeches are not allowed to be reported in the newspapers.
Full article here.
This is a good way to start this Sunday morning, especially since the Walk for Media Freedom is today. I wonder if Dr M will join in the walk too, since he feels that the media has no freedom.
But I wonder if he is right about not getting media coverage. In my view, he has definitely not been short of media space at all. In fact, if anything, he is the one ex-PM who gets the most media coverage even after retiring.
His speeches probably don’t make the newspapers anymore, but isn’t that to be sort of expected? Yes, he’s the ex-PM. So what he says in a speech is relatively more important than what we normal citizens have to say. But he has to remember that he’s a regular UMNO member. Or WAS a regular UMNO member. That doesn’t warrant him to be one of the government. What he has to say is relatively less important compared to the active politicians who are running the show.
He has never been short of media coverage. It’s only that now, he has to compete with the rest of the government for the same media space. He isn’t in control of the media anymore. He can’t tell the media to cover every single thing he says.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that media covers everything fairly. In fact, I don’t think the media is free at all! And Dr M may have a point in saying that he is being “blocked”.
But when he says he “no longer” gets fair coverage, what does he mean? Does he mean that he used to get fair coverage by the media when he was PM? But then, what does he mean by “fair”? Does “fair coverage” = “most coverage”? If that is his underlying meaning, then yes, Dr M is not getting it anymore. Because he can’t tell the reporters to report on anything he says.
I have no doubts about the government controlling the press and what the media choose to print, publish and telecast. I know they do. But whatever it is, it didn’t start now. It also didn’t start 4 years ago.
I have to say that Dr M is probably feeling the brunt of this unfairness now, just as the opposition felt during his tenure. It probably takes one to be on the other side before one understands the whole thing. He is “no longer getting fair coverage”, because he no longer speaks in favour of the government.
But does he know, though, that this is the system he introduced himself?