Trust the mainstream media, urges Najib

By Thursday September 2nd, 2010 No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the public tonight to trust the mainstream media and not the alternative media which are based on half truths.

The Prime Minister said that mainstream media should be considered as an authoritative news source that can be trusted.

“In the development of the media today, the market is different from the market in previous years. Now we are faced with the alternative media which has been a direct competition to mainstream media like NST.

“However, the mainstream media has one strength which cannot be found in the alternative media and that is the mainstream media can be considered as fact based,” Najib (picture) said when attending breaking of fast with the media at The New Straits Times Press headquarters here.

He said that the mainstream media is different from alternative media because the former is fact based while the later is opinionated.

“If we read the mainstream media, intuitively we regard it as an authoritative report where its facts cannot be questioned.

“Its principles are based on facts and this is different from blogs and websites which can be developed for personal use and can literally become a one-man show,” he said.

He added that alternative media published reports based on opinions which are “half truths and not accurate”.

Recently a poll by the Merdeka Center showed that six out of 10 Malaysians don’t trust the mainstream media.

The June 27 to July 25 survey commissioned by a research organisation showed that 57 per cent of Malays polled said they did not trust reports in the mainstream media, while 33 per cent trusted the media and 10 per cent said they did not know.

As for the Chinese community, 58 per cent said they did not trust the mainstream media, 30 per cent trusted and 12 per cent did not know.

A total 590 Chinese and 413 Malays as well as five focus group discussions with Chinese voters in Peninsula Malaysia were involved in the survey.

The findings will provide sober reading for many mainstream media organisations. Recent circulation figures show that English and Malay-language newspapers like New Straits Times, The Star, Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia have all suffered significant drop in circulation this year compared to 2009, with some as severe as 20 per cent.

Privately, newspaper executives note that partisan political coverage has hurt sales.

Comments from the focus group discussions also showed that many felt that there is limited media freedom in the country because of the practice of censorship.

Some participants in the focus groups also pointed out that Malay-language newspapers were the most biased.

Najib stressed that the public must be able to differentiate between mainstream and alternative media reporting.

“The public must be discerning and can differentiate between the strength of the mainstream media, which has a place in the era of ICT and access to website and blogs which are opinion based.

“I urge the mainstream media to continue to hold its principle as a paper based on factual based reporting with opinion which are constructive and educated,” he said.

Source : The Malaysian Insider

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