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Mar 6, 2008

Disgust at The Star's election coverage

ALIRAN - Frustrated with the lopsided coverage of the general election campaign, a reader of The Star, Sudhagaran Stanley, vents his anger in a letter to the publishers of the self-proclaimed 'The People's Paper'. Dear Publisher,

I am writing this letter with much regret and disappointment over The Star’s news publication and strongly condemn and object to all your articles about the General Election, over the past few days.

It is very clear that your articles on the coming general election give one-sided views supporting the Barisan Nasional Government. I view this as something unhealthy and a threat to the future of a free media.

You use the caption “Malaysia Decides 2008” for your general election reports. How does the electorate decide, when you don’t even report on the opposition parties. Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim and other opposition leaders gave many ceramahs in Penang, but I don’t see any details or article about those events.

The reports I have seen about any Opposition party, are negative ones about that party. What kind of practise is this in a democratic country?

We, the rakyat and readers of The Star, expect and demand equal coverage of and news about all parties in the general election.

Yes, it’s good to tell the nation what the Barisan has done for the people and the development it has brought to this country. At the same time, it is also important to hear the Opposition’s views and vision for the country. Whether they are giving empty promises or lying, it is for the rakyat to decide. Not for the government or for your publication to decide or come to a conclusion.

In your publication on 28 February 2008 on page N 11, there is an advertisement for the MIC. What kind of advertisement is that? Is the MIC trying to instil fear in the nation and get votes by threatening us?


That statement is already in breach of election campaign rules, which prohibits nominees from threatening voters.

I also see only Barisan Nasional advertisements in The Star. Aren`t there any other parties contesting in this coming general election? Every single day, I see so many full page BN advertisements. Haven’t they exceeded the campaign budget limit approved by the Election Commission for all parties yet?

I know it costs many thousands of ringgit for a single-page advertisement in The Star. Or is The Star sponsoring the pages for the BN? If yes, then why is The Star not also sponsoring the DAP, Keadilan and Pas? There are as many readers who support the Opposition as there are who support the BN.

This is such an insult to all readers of The Star. We give you business and you pay us back in this way?

When reporting news that refers to Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak, your publication refers to them as the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Have your editors forgotten that Parliament has been dissolved? What right do you have then to officially call both these persons current ministers of Malaysia. Aren’t you giving false information to the public?

This letter is a demand to the Star Publication to give equal coverage to all parties contesting the General Election. It is also a call to the Election Commission chairman and to all the media to ensure there is equal and fair coverage of all parties.

If your company still publishes one-sided reports after reading this letter, I am going to launch a boycott of The Star newspaper and urge Penang people not to buy your paper. I will go all out to use my influence and contacts to make sure people do not buy The Star.

There are alternatives to your newspaper. Why spend more to buy news that is unfair and unequal? I hope this will be a start for change in the way your reports are published. Let the nation decide; don’t fool your readers.

Yours faithfully,

Sudhagaran Stanley


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