The Recent Case of the New Straits Times’ Deliberate Lies and Fabrication of News Against Australian Senator Nick Xenophon Demonstrates why the Chief Minister is Compelled Not to Invite the Unethical UMNO-linked Press to his Functions Purely as an Act of Self-Defence(en/cn)

Press Statement by the Hon. Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, in George Town on 4 May 2012.

The Recent Case of the New Straits Times’ Deliberate Lies and Fabrication of News Against Australian Senator Nick Xenophon Demonstrates why the Chief Minister is Compelled Not to Invite the Unethical UMNO-linked Press to his Functions Purely as an Act of Self-Defence; Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Will Sue the New Straits Times Press and Utusan Melayu (Bhd) for the False Report of a Dinner with Senior Singapore PAP Leaders where National Secrets were Allegedly Disclosed

The recent case of the New Straits Times’ deliberate lies and fabrication of news against Australian Senator Nick Xenophon demonstrates why I am compelled not to invite the unethical UMNO-linked press to my functions purely as an act of self-defence against such accomplished serial liars.

The New Straits Times has admitted that it falsely replaced the word “Scientology” with “Islam” in a speech quoted in its 2 May 2012 news report, which claimed that the Australian Senator had called Islam a “criminal organisation” and which accused him of being “anti-Islam”.

Like Senator Xenophon, Malaysians are also sickened by the UMNO-linked press’s blatant fabrication of lies passed off as news to the Malaysian public. The Penang State Government is therefore fully justified in refusing to allow its press conferences and State functions to be deliberately misreported and misrepresented by the UMNO-linked press. Although we believe in the freedom of the press, the refusal of the UMNO-linked media to abide by the basic ethics of truthful journalism, and their refusal to give me the right of reply to correct false news, leaves me without any choice but to act in self-defence by declining any news coverage from the UMNO-owned papers. Much as we want news coverage, better no coverage than coverage filled with hurtful lies, slander and falsehoods.

It has been reported that Senator Xenophon intends to go ahead and sue the New Straits Times for the damage that has been done to his reputation, despite the newspaper’s admission of guilt and statement of regret. In the case of a false news report carried by the New Sunday Times, Mingguan Malaysia and Berita Minggu on 2 October 2011, which was defamatory of me, Datuk Mohamed Azman Yahya and Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan, I have not received a single word of apology or of clarification.

These articles published in the UMNO-linked press carried PERKASA’s allegation that I, together with Datuk Azman and Datuk Seri Kalimullah, had attended a dinner with senior Singapore PAP leaders at which Malaysian national secrets were allegedly discussed. No attempt was made by these “newspapers” to clarify the allegation by contacting the parties alleged to have been involved.

These UMNO-linked “newspapers” have since apologised to Datuk Seri Kalimullah and to Datuk Azman for their false and defamatory allegation, but for political reasons have refused, in spite of my lawyers’ requests, to pay any damages or to publish any clarification or apology concerning the allegations against me.

I am therefore announcing that I will be instructing my lawyers to proceed to file an action for defamation in the High Court against PERKASA, the New Straits Times Press and Utusan Melayu (Bhd). I do not have the resources and ability to file a court defamation action every time the UMNO-linked media defame me. Even without their news coverage, the New Straits Times has continued to run defamatory articles against me. Imagine how many more court actions I would have to file if they were invited to run riot with lies at my news conferences.

LIM GUAN ENG

—-Mandarin Version—-

槟州首席部长林冠英于2012年5月4日在乔治市发表声明:

最近《新海峡时报》针对澳洲上议员尼克色诺芬恶意谎言及虚假新闻,可以说明为何首长出于自卫,被迫不邀请没有职业道德的巫统关联媒体出席他的活动;槟州首长也将起诉《新海峡时报》和《马来西亚前锋报》的假新闻,诬指我们在与新加坡资深人民行动党领袖共进晚餐时,泄漏国家机密。

最近《新海峡时报》针对澳洲上议员尼克色诺芬恶意谎言及虚假新闻,可以说明为何我出于自卫,被迫不邀请没有职业道德的巫统关联媒体出席我的活动,以提防这些不择手段的系列谎言。

《新海峡时报》承认它在2012年5月2日的报道中,误将有关澳洲上议员致词中的“科学论派(Scientology)”写成“伊斯兰(Islam)”,诬指他将伊斯兰称为“犯罪组织”并指他“反回教”。

正如澳洲上议员色诺芬,马来西亚人也对巫统关联媒体一再散布虚假谣言感到厌倦。因此,槟州政府拒绝这此媒体出席记者会及州属活动,以提防他们错误报道或诠释,完全合情合理。虽然我们相信新闻自由,但是,巫统关联媒体却不愿意遵守新闻的基本伦理- 真实性,他们也不愿给我回应错误新闻的权利,让我别无选择,只好进行自卫,拒绝巫统所属报章的报道。虽然我们也希望获得新闻报道,但是,与其让报章充斥伤害性谎言、诽谤及虚伪报道,还不如不要报道。

尽管《新海峡时报》已经道歉认错,但据报道色诺芬有意起诉《新海峡时报》 ,该报章已经对其名誉造成损伤。在2011年10月2日由《新海峡时报星期刊》、《每日新闻星期刊》及《每日新闻》都诽谤拿督莫哈末阿兹曼、拿督斯里卡立慕和我的虚假新闻,到今天,这些报道都还没有道歉或澄清。

这些巫统关联媒体所刊登的文章指中,土权组织伪称拿督阿兹曼、拿督斯里卡立慕都和我,一同与新加坡人民行动党资深领袖共进晚餐,并指我们讨论国家机密。这些报章完全没有意图联络相关人士进行澄清。

这些巫统关联报章后来针对本身的虚假、诽谤性言论道歉向拿督斯里卡立慕都和拿督阿兹曼道歉,但是尽管我的律师要求,基于政治理由,他们不愿针对我的指控赔偿损失或刊登任何澄清、道歉启示。

因此,我宣布,我将会指示我的律师入禀高庭,起诉土著权威组织、《新海峡时报》、《马来西亚前锋报》。我没有那多么资源和能力,在每次巫统关联媒体诽谤我时都起诉他们。就算他们没有报道,《新海峡时报》也一直撰写诽谤性文章针对我。可以想像,如果他们受邀出席我的新闻发布会,他们必会肆意制造谎言,到时,我到底要入禀多少次法庭。

林冠英

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