Monday, March 26, 2012

Death of journalism in Malaysian Insider

At the end of the day, Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis and the country’s oldest newspaper the New Straits Times Press may not take ‘independent’ online newsportal the Malaysian Insider to court.

Both Jamaludin or JJ as he is popularly known and NSTP may have been clear victims of the Malaysian Insider’s latest fabrication but the real victim is the level of professionalism among Malaysian journalists.

How else would one view the latest fabrication spun by the Malaysian Insider, that has both JJ and the NSTP all riled up, other than the sorry state of the professionalism of the vocation.

The article in the centre of the storm, Five issues likely holding up June polls, say sources’, was written by an experienced and a veteran journalist who is now The Malaysian Insider’s No 1 editor.

Jahabar Sadiq is no ordinary journalist as he has had years of experience serving both the mainstream newspapers and foreign wire agencies before venturing into what is claimed to be an ‘independent’ journalism.

The article, which has since been removed from the news portal’s website, appeared like an ordinary breaking news item until the moment JJ sent a stinging letter to Jahabar.

“Based on the absolute absence of any truth in your report as far as my so-called briefing to NST editors is concerned, I can only conclude that your unnamed sources have lied to you or are absolutely unreliable or simply do not exist or have simply attempted to deflect from their identity.
In either case, it is also obvious that you have failed in your journalistic duty of trying to verify the truth of your information, choosing instead to run your story despite the absence of any sort of concrete evidence to prove your allegations.
In the process, you have dragged my name into your web of lies and have caused me undue inconvenience in having to defend the truth.
I am therefore demanding that you remove the posting with immediate effect and also run an apology for your article of untruths. I also reserve the right to institute further action against you and your newspaper.
Lastly, I find it most unfortunate that a newspaper which claims to offer “an unvarnished take on events and personalities in Malaysia” and one that claims to have among their readers “Malaysians who crave for balanced and serious reporting on issues”, can take such a lax attitude towards the authenticity of its information and the credibility of its sources. - Jamaluddin Jarjis

If JJ’s letter didn’t do enough to expose Jahabar and The Malaysian Insider’s lack of professionalism, NST’s group managing editor Abdul Jalil Hamid has followed up with a similar demand of apology and retraction over the same article they said were manufactured.

“You had every opportunity to verify with us regarding the accuracy and truth of your allegations in the First Report prior to its publication but failed to do so. In the Second Report, you were presented with another opportunity to clarify on our involvement in the alleged briefing but once again you failed to do so.
We therefore demand that you run an immediate and unreserved apology to us and our editors and correspondents for your fabricated report failing which we will not hesitate to take this matter further. This notice shall be without prejudice to take any action that we may deem necessary to protect our interests”. - Abdul Jalil Hamid

While the Malaysian Insider has dutifully published both JJ and Jalil’s letters, the newsportal or rather Jahabar’s professionalism continues to be questioned.

Blogger Freedie Kevin, who is not even a trained journalist, has pointed out the Malaysian Insider’s lack of professionalism.

The Malaysian Insider, Freddie says, never learns

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