‘Envelope journalism’ is a term, popularly used in countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia, to refer to the unethical practice of bribing journalists in the form of money, gifts or the use of facilities to journalists in an attempt to seek favourable media coverage.
It is rather very disturbing if such a practice did prevail in the run-up to the Kuala Terengganu by-election as reported below, and here too.
Such an attempt is especially disconcerting when it was alleged that it occurred at the state information department’s media centre, something that would run counter to the claim made by the Information Minister last year that there was no such thing as ‘envelope journalism’ in Malaysia.
Hat off to those journalists who were ethical enough to return the money that was offered to them.
Malaysiakini reports, among other things:
Journalists given money
In another development, RM300 cash was distributed to more than a dozen journalists at the state information department’s media centre in Kuala Terengganu.
Journalists were asked to list their names, the organisation they worked for and telephone numbers on a blank piece of paper by a media centre staff before being given a white envelope containing six RM50 notes.
Four Malaysiakini journalists wrote their details on the paper without knowing about the money.
The four later returned the envelopes with a total of RM1,200 to the media centre staff. Several other journalists have done the same.
The media centre staff could not answer when quizzed about the source of the money.
At 6pm, two journalists from Chinese-language online news Merdeka Review lodged a police report on the matter at the Terengganu police headquarters.
Information Ministry denies roleMeanwhile, according to a Bernama report later in the day, the Information Ministry denied making any payment to journalists covering the by-election.
Information Minister’s press secretary Hisham Abdul Hamid said the ministry had never directed any of its officers to do such a thing.
“This has never been the practice of the Information Ministry,” he told Bernama.
MERDEKAVIEW JOURNALISTS LODGED POLICE REPORT
Filed under: ARTICLES (LATEST) 17/01/2009, politics — sjsandteam @ 12:09 am
Tags: MERDEKAVIEW JOURNALISTS LODGED POLICE REPORT
KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 16 (Bernama) — The Information Ministry today denied making any payment to journalists covering the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election, polling for which is tomorrow.The press secretary to the Information Minister, Hisham Abdul Hamid, said the ministry had never directed any of its officers to do such a thing.
“This has never been the practice of the Information Ministry,” he told Bernama here. The Mandarin version of the Malaysiakini portal today reported that an Information Ministry officer had given envelopes containing money to journalists covering the by-election.
Meanwhile, two journalists of Merdekaview.com lodged a police report over an allegation that they had received a white envelope containing money from an officer serving at the media centre set up for the by-election. The report was made at 7.13pm at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters.
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