Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tamil daily warned over shooting reports - Malaysiakini

The Home Ministry has issued a warning letter to vernacular daily Tamil Nesan over its reporting on the killing of five suspected armed robbers by the police last week.

The ministry has accused the MIC-linked daily of playing up racial sentiments in its coverage of the police shooting in which all five suspects - all Malaysian Indians - had died on the spot.

NONETamil Nesan' managing director S Vell Paari told Malaysiakini that the warning letter was sent to his office late yesterday.

"The letter was issued to Tamil Nesan in regards to our coverage on the gunning down of five young Indian men in Klang by police," he said.

He said that the ministry had felt that Tamil Nesan's reports on the matter could provoke others and may affect the harmony in the country.

He added that the letter also noted that a MIC Youth statement published in the daily on the shooting was provocative.

"The letter warned is that our publishing licence can be revoked if we continued publishing such articles," he added.

Doing our duty as a community paper

Vell Paari however defended his daily, which was established in 1924, in their coverage of the issue.

"We only carried out what transpired over an event and a press statement from MIC's Youth wing, which is part and parcel of newspaper role in this country.

"I'm also baffled on how news published by us can provoke the Indians when almost all the other mainstream media carried the same news, giving similar importance and using similar vocabulary.

"It is also being hotly debated in various blog sand online networking sites like the Facebook," he said.

Vell Paari also said that as a daily newspaper catering for the Indian community, Tamil Nesan has the right to publish news on matters affecting the community, just like how other dailies do for their own communities.

"As far as Tamil Nesan is concerned we have maintained a status of fair comment and have only published what had happened that day. Nothing more and nothing less," he stressed.

Police under fire

NONEIn the shooting incident on Monday (Nov 9), the police killed suspected criminals aged between 17 and 24 - and allegedly from the 'PCO Boy' gang - in Taman Klang Utama on Monday.

The police claimed that the five were responsible for a spate of robberies and defended the shooting.

"When police officers shoot, they do not shoot to kill, but rather they shoot to stop the deadly force threat," said CID director Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin in a statement the following day.

However the police action came under a spotlight with many quarters accusing the police of being trigger-happy. Many had also questioned as to why such police shootings always included people from the Indian community.

Arising out of the latest police killing, a sister of one of the victims had attempted suicide by drinking paraquat on Thursday. She had also forced her four children to consume the poison.