When violence meets PKR and the Press

Violence is generally reprehensible and should be condemned especially in a society that supposedly practises democracy.

Thus, violence is often considered a ‘good’ (news) copy by most people in the media as it is seen as going against the norm, especially if violent acts result in physical injury and sometimes even death. There’s also an element of drama in violence. In short, it’s newsworthy.

The recent incident in Permatang Pauh where supporters of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) were alleged to have assaulted two photographers of the New Straits Times Press group and HBL Press News, a French news agency, is a case in point. It is obviously something that the Malaysian public would view seriously and be concerned about, especially if they are also mindful of the reported aggressive behaviour of the PKR supporters against BN supporters. See also here.

That is why PKR and, for that matter, other parties particularly the Opposition, would have to be wary of some of their supporters and at the same time be extra careful with the safety of the members of the media. This is especially so when these Opposition parties are often depicted or profess publicly as ones that loathe violence, physical and mental.

And equally important, violent acts (if it is true that PKR supporters were actually involved) that curb press freedom do not sit well with political parties, such as the PKR, that supposedly champion press freedom.

PKR (and others in the Pakatan Rakyat) ought to also be as cautious as humanly possible about the possibility of agents provocateurs in their midst, who are ever ready to create trouble and smear the public face of the party.

Whatever the case maybe, violence that implicates the Opposition makes an especially ‘fabulous copy’ for certain quarters in Malaysia’s mainstream media, the ownership of which is closely linked (or friendly) to the powers-that-be.

Several journalists’ associations were very upset with the PKR over this incident. National Press Club president Mokhtar Hussain was quoted by Bernama as saying that ‘he wanted all political parties to ensure the safety of local and foreign media practitioners covering the by-election because they are just doing their jobs for the people’.

It is also noteworthy that he had ‘urged them, especially those of the opposition to respect media freedom in carrying their duties’.

Granted that two wrongs don’t make a right, but, if one were to interpret the above statement, is the Opposition the only political coalition that is more inclined to curtail media freedom in Malaysia?



3 Responses to “When violence meets PKR and the Press”

  1. 1 Samuel Goh Kim Eng 17 August 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Let violence from any quarter be condemned
    For it has no place in any civilised society
    Let alone those who often wish to preach piety
    For there are things that can’t be bulldozed or rammed

    (C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng – 170808
    Sun. 17th Aug. 2008.

  2. 2 tan, tanjong bungah 17 August 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Hi everyone,

    Aggressive behaviour and agents provocateurs exist on both sides of the political divide, except that the MSM seems to only portray more of one side over the other. Nonetheless, the leaders from both sides need to constantly remind their overzealous and fanatical supporters to restrain themselves.

    Let the campaign for the by-election proceed as smoothly as possible. The voters in Ptg Pauh should not be afraid to exercise their democratic rights!

  3. 3 Confused 17 August 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Remember the bandar makhota cheras issue? there were a number of thugs who attacked the residents .. smells fishy .. are these the same people who attacked the photographers?

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