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RIP: Ben Bradlee, journalist and freedom fighter

Wed 2014-Oct-22 @ MYT 16:09:59 pm

Farewell, Mr Bradlee

For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession — it was a public good vital to our democracy. A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country’s finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told — stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better. The standard he set — a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting — encouraged so many others to enter the profession. And that standard is why, last year, I was proud to honor Ben with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President of the United States

Legendary Washington Post editor dies at 93

The Washington Post obituary

He was a presence, a force…” Woodward recalled of Mr. Bradlee’s role during the Watergate period, 1972 to 1974. “And he was a doubter, a skeptic — ‘Do we have it yet?’ ‘Have we proved it?’ ” Decades later, Woodward remembered the words that he most hated to hear from Mr. Bradlee then: “You don’t have it yet, kid.”

From the moment he took over The Post newsroom in 1965, Mr. Bradlee sought to create an important newspaper that would go far beyond the traditional model of a metropolitan daily.

He achieved that goal by combining compelling news stories based on aggressive reporting with engaging feature pieces of a kind previously associated with the best magazines. His charm and gift for leadership helped him hire and inspire a talented staff and eventually made him the most celebrated newspaper editor of his era.

The most compelling story of Mr. Bradlee’s tenure, almost certainly the one of greatest consequence, was Watergate, a political scandal touched off by The Post’s reporting that ended in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history.

But Mr. Bradlee’s most important decision, made with Katharine Graham, The Post’s publisher, may have been to print stories based on the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon history of the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration went to court to try to quash those stories, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the New York Times and The Post to publish them.

Small bites at the apple
Newspapering deals with small daily bites from a fruit of indeterminate size. It may take dozens of bites before you are sure it’s an apple. Dozens and dozens more bites before you have any real idea how big the apple might be. It was that way with Watergate.


“Nixon Resigns” Ben Bradlee in the caseroom with the next morning’s front page. Aug 9. 1974

Tribute to an editor’s editor

Whenever I found myself alone on the streets of Beirut, I would just shrug off the shelling, the gunmen, and the dark corners, telling myself there is this distinguished eminence up there who really appreciates and understands the true meaning of courage in journalism. . . .
Washington Post foreign correspondent

NUJ to accept online journos

Fri 2014-Oct-10 @ MYT 23:01:24 pm

Online news journalists will be able to become members of the National Union of Journalists after the union’s proposed amendement to its constitution are approved by the Registrar of Trade Unions.

The amendment, for journalists of online news portals recognised by the Home Ministry, will allow the union to engage in collective bargaining on salaries and benefits and intervene in disputes with employers.

The NUJ has been a union of only newspaper journalists in Peninsular Malaysia since its inception.

The decision to include online journalists was announced after the union’s delegates’ conference last week.

Sin Chew senior reporter Chin Sung Chew retained his position as NUJ president with a 270 vote majority over Osman Lisut of New Straits Times.

Chin has been president since 2011 after taking over from Ha’ta Wahari, who stepped down after being terminated by Utusan Malaysia.

There were only minor changes in the other positions on the Executive Council, with one new deputy general secretariy and new treasurer and deputy treasurer. All others retained their positions:

  • deputy presidents, Basir Zahrom (New Straits Times) and Mohd Taufek Razak (Utusan)
  • general secreatary Schave Jerome of the Star and a deputy, Mohd Hidhir Bin Basaruddin of Utusan, were re-elected unopposed, while Wan Noor Hayati Alias of NST was unopposed as the other deputy.
  • Baharudin Reseh Hj. Yaacob of Utusan was elected unopposed as treasurer with Chan Kok Hong of Kwong Wah Yit Poh was elected deputy in a three-cornered fight.

Among other motions, NUJ delegates agreed to continuously press for the repeal of the
Official Secrets Act and the Printing, Presses and Publications Act while urging the government to enact a Freedom of Information Act and to act on issues regarding union leave.

IoJ: Citizens deserve freedom, too

Fri 2014-Oct-3 @ MYT 14:17:09 pm

PUTRAJAYA, Friday 3 October 2014

IoJ’s petition in the hands of the PM’s office. [IoJ photo]

Journalists today handed over to the Government a petition protesting against the arrest of Susan Loone last month under the Sedition Act; they called on the Government to enhance the freedom of citizens by repealing the Act and halting its further use until the law is abolished as promised.

They also called for any charges against Susan to be dropped. Susan, an assistant editor with Malaysiakini, was arrested in Penang on Sept 4 over a report on police action against a state executive councillor.

“We are not merely asking the Government to free Susan Loone of all charges but by presenting our petition, we are also asking for the government to enhance the freedom of all citizens,” said Tashny Sukumaran, spokesperson for the team from the Institute of Journalists Malaysia and Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) that presented the petition to the Prime Minister’s Office here.

Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, press secretary to the Prime Minister, received the petition and promised to hand the document over to Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Read more…

Futile or not, stand up for freedom

Wed 2014-Oct-1 @ MYT 09:43:30 am

Why lighting a candle is better than sitting in the dark

Khairie Hisyam Aliman
Malay Mail Online

From » Sedition Act: Speak Up

IoJ petition to the Govt of Malaysia

Sometimes we cannot not act, even if in futility. Because taking action in itself is an impact, even without visible effects.

These were the thoughts in my head when, this week, someone forwarded me a petition form by the Institute of Journalists Malaysia.

The petition, addressed to the prime minister, home minister and the Attorney-General, expresses support for the journalist body’s previous call for the repeal of the Sedition Act, for non-interference in legal journalistic work and for cessation of any and all action against journalist Susan Loone.

To recap, Susan was arrested earlier this month for writing a straight news report based on a telephone interview with a Penang state lawmaker. She was detained and questioned for hours for doing something that is a normal daily activity for any other reporter anywhere.

It brought to mind a brief chat with a lawyer last week about participating in the Malaysian Bar’s Walk for Justice, the effectiveness of which I admittedly also wondered about, though I didn’t voice this.

The lawyer’s reason for walking: objection against the government’s selective use of the Sedition Act and a desire to express displeasure at the selective usage, even if that gets ignored anyway.

It came down to making a statement. Showing intent. Expressing unhappiness. With or without effect, isn’t that important too?

Coming back to IoJ’s petition, I have no pretensions that my one insignificant name matters. But it’s important as a community, as a group to do what little we can individually. In some cases it simply means speaking up, even if our individual voices get drowned out.

Statement by IoJ on Sept 5

The alternative is keeping silent and not saying anything. But then no one would know we disapprove if we keep that feeling hidden behind walls. Worse, our silence may be mistaken for endorsement.

In whatever purpose we pursue, I believe that if we all lend our small voices to the collective, together we can have a better chance of being heard.

Do I share the principles and stance expressed by the IoJ in its statement? (Read it here.) Yes. Do I believe my fellow journalists and I have a right to work unhindered? Yes.

Do I think this petition will reform the nation overnight? No. Can the journalist collective push for the repeal of the Sedition Act on its own? No.

Am I signing anyway? Yes. Pursuing some things are simply a matter of principle.

If you’re unhappy about the Sedition Act too, it’s time to speak up. You could be Malaysia’s tipping point.

» Sedition Act: Speak Up

People on the move

Tue 2014-Sep-30 @ MYT 13:26:54 pm

Not very new – picked up off a media advisory from Telum public relations in Singapore

  • Datuk Ahirudin Attan, better known as Rocky’s Bru, has recently joined The Malaysian Reserve and taken on a new role as Adviser.
  • Eddie Hoo, is now editor-in-chief at MW Magazines, part of HCK Media, which launches 4 new publications in October, after shutting The Heat.
  • Lillian Wee has recently joined The Edge, writing for ‪#‎edGY‬ pullout
  • Wan Ilaika Mohd Zakaria is an intern at SunBiz, theSun Daily, until November
  • Kuek Ser Kwang Zhe has joined Personal Money from Sin Chew
  • K. Harinderan has moved to Free Malaysia Today as assistant news editor from Rakyat Post
  • Julia Chan, ext-NST, has joined The Malay Mail Online as Sabah correspondent, after being PR for Hyatt hotels.
  • Mak Kum Shi has recently left Malaysia SME be a freelance
  • Kow Kwan Yee has left Malaysiakini to do her master’s in Public Policy at University of Malaya.
  • Alexandra Wong has recently launched her first book, Made in Malaysia: Stories of Hometown Heroes and Hidden Gems.

Young team to lead IoJ

Sun 2014-Sep-28 @ MYT 09:56:29 am

A young team of journalists has been elected to lead the fledgling Institute of Journalists Malaysia, which was set up to be the professional body of journalists.

They were elected to the first Board of Governors, the Institute’s executive body, at the inaugural annual general meeting held at Commonwealth House, Kuala Lumpur.

More than 30 journalists and invited guests attended the annual general meeting.

Those elected:

Newspaper journalists

Lim Hui Ying, Tashny Sukumaran (alternate: Esther Chandran)

Broadcasting journalists

Amirul Ruslan, Leong Hon Yuen (alternate: vacant)

Online journalists
Boo Su-lyn, Joseph Sipalan (alternate: Alyaa Alhadjhri)

Periodical, freelance & other journalists

Teoh El Sen (alternate: Michelle Tam)

(Alternate members are stand-ins when elected members are unable to attend a Board meeting)

Board members are elected to three-year terms.

However, the Institute of Journalists has a rotating board election system, and the four of the seven on the inaugural Board will only serve one or two years each.

The IoJ’s rule specify that one-third of the first Board will retire after serving one year, another one-third after two years, and the remaining serve the full three-year term.

The board is expected to meet within a week to elect a chairman and to decide which of them will retire from the board after one year and two years.

I’m a journo – and I’m scared…

Sat 2014-Sep-20 @ MYT 22:33:17 pm

By Boo Su-Lyn
Malay Mail Online

SEPTEMBER 12 — Despite the ongoing government crackdown under the Sedition Act against opposition lawmakers, a student, a law professor and even a journalist, I was generally unconcerned as I figured that the courts would never entertain such ridiculous charges.

Then a student activist named Muhammad Safwan Anang was sentenced last Friday to 10 months’ jail for sedition. His crime? Making a speech about overthrowing the government.

Besides investigating a Malaysiakini journalist for sedition over an article that put the police in a bad light, the authorities are similarly probing a mosque official under the 1948 law for allegedly criticising the police over their actions against the Penang voluntary patrol squad. Read more…


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