Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Non-Chinese Media - "Naughty, Naughty" Says Rais Yatim.

Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim Tuesday commended Chinese newspapers in the country for giving extensive coverage on the Merdeka celebrations but ticked off other media for not doing the same.

"I congratulate the Chinese press for their extensive coverage on the Merdeka celebrations as well as running stories on our nationhood," he said. On the hand, he said, non-Chinese media preferred to highlight sensational news rather than the 49th Merdeka Day celebrations.

"Some of them don't seemed to be bothered about Merdeka. This is an injustice to the country which has given a lot of facilities and goodwill to media practitioners. However, to a handful of them Merdeka Day seems just like any other day. "On the contrary, stories on divorces, wedding bashes suddenly are bigger news than the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister," he told reporters.

Of course he's got a point there. The Siti-Datuk K wedding was live telecasted by TV3 and except probably for a handful of leaders like Rais and the other flag waving patriot, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, the rest of the normal population were either preoccupied with details of the wedding ceremony or involved in the less glamorous routine of their daily work.

We the ordinary citizens of the country don't have the luxury or the time to ponder why certain media like to highlight certain issues. We've always thought it had to do with what the public wants. But perhaps to please leaders like Rais and 'tone down crime' advocates like Zam, media practitioners should give the public what the ministers want. Of course then we should not be blamed if the media which comply go bankrupt.

Ultimately it is a matter of choice which the member of the public still has the privilege to exercise. We read, what we wish to read and watch, what we like to watch. No minister is going to dictate to us on that private matter.


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