20 things you can do for a new free press

A guide for citizens to combat ‘manufactured
news and propaganda’ in Malaysian media

In response to an often repeated comment, apparently from someone in the reform movement, that Malaysian journalists deserve no respect for producing “manufactured news and political propaganda” and should all get out of the business. Who would replace them is always left unsaid; probably, I surmise, for the likely answer being: cronies or plants of the troll.

The 20 things you can do to get the kind of media you might respect

  1. Boycott all journalists in any media. Do not speak to them, do not accept their phone calls, emails or messages. Do not offer them any information. Do not ask for publicity. Do not invite them to your functions or events. If journalists have no information, they cannot produce “manufactured news and propaganda”.
  2. Boycott all forms of mass media, including online media:
    • Don’t buy or read newspapers or magazines (even free ones)
    • Don’t watch or listen to any television channel, or radio station; avoid cinemas, throw away brochures and flyers, and don’t look at billboards
    • Don’t visit online sites that contain any kind of Malaysian journalism
    • Don’t forward any news item by email. If you receive forwarded news items, delete them immediately, unread.
    • Once the media have no readers, viewers or listeners, they will collapse, putting an end to “manufactured news and propaganda”.
  3. Get rid of your television sets and radios. If no one watches or listens, companies will not advertise and the stations will collapse. That will stop “manufactured news and propaganda” in the news bulletins of the TV and radio stations, and in the newspapers and magazines that they own
  4. Cancel your Astro subscription. Remove your satellite dish. Do not watch any Astro programme anywhere at the office or in public areas. No English football, or live badminton; no Grammies or Oscars. Tell Astro why. If Astro loses money, it will collapse, putting a stop to “manufactured news and propaganda” on Astro news channels as well.
  5. Boycott all international media. The BBC, CNN and CNBC have already used “manufactured news and political propaganda” produced for Malaysian politicians. Boycott them, and all others; you just don’t know which ones continue to use “manu­factured news and propaganda”. Write and tell them to stop.
  6. Do not buy products and services advertised or mentioned in reviews and other columns in the media (examples at random) Giant, Tesco, Courts, McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC, Maxis, Celcom, Digi, Fab, Breeze, Lux, Coca-Cola, Yeo’s, MAS, Air Asia, Delicious, D’lish, etc. Do not buy property from SP Setia, E&O, Dijaya, and all such companies. Don’t buy products from Toyota, Hyundai, Samsung, Sony, BMW, Peugeot, Ford, etc. Tell them it’s because their advertisements support “manufactured news and propaganda”, and that they will save money by not advertising.
  7. Do not support any political party whether in the Barisan Nasional or the opposition: all political parties own and control news media and produce “manufactured news and propaganda”. Tell them you won’t vote until they stop.
  8. Sell your shares in media companies and get everyone to do so. When the share price collapses, and the company goes bust, it will put a stop to “manufactured news and propaganda”.
  9. Boycott advertising agencies that buy space and air time.
    • Deprive the mass media of advertisement revenue. Boycott ad agencies also because they produce their own “manufactured news and commercial propaganda” called press releases, and expect journalists to use them.
    • Boycott all clients of advertising agencies, especially those that also produce “manufactured news and commercial propaganda” (press releases) and get journalists to use them.
    • Support independent advertising media such as your neighbourhood notice board or online advertising boards not connected to the mass media or or any political or business organisation that supports the mass media. When you need a job, want to sell your car, find a room, need a carpenter, a loan, or travel agent, don’t look at advertisements, look at bus stop notices.
  10. Boycott all public relations companies. They supply the media with “manufactured news and propaganda” (press releases) about companies and organisations, and encourage journalists to use them to produce other “manufactured news and propaganda”.
  11. Don’t ask the media for publicity. Don’t ask for coverage of your daughter’s kindergarten concert. Don’t send photos of your son making the dean’s list at a foreign university. Tell all charities, societies, clubs, schools, and such organisations to do the same. Journalists will not be able to “manufacture news and propaganda”.
  12. Complain, in a sustained campaign to the following:
    • All editors in newspapers, television and radio stations, and magazines, and online news sites and online forums;
    • Account and creative directors of advertising agencies and public relations companies;
    • Research analysts, stock brokers and management consultants.
    • And the chairmen, boards of directors, managing directors and marketing directors of any company that advertises in the media, has dealings with the media, or has shares in a media company. Demand that they apply pressure on the media and their owners to stop producing “manufactured news and propaganda” and demand that they withdraw support of media companies.
  13. Demand political action and changes to the laws.
    Conduct a sustained campaign by complaining to:

    • the prime minister, deputy prime minister, and the cabinet, especially the home minister and the information minister
    • the president and national chairmen of all political parties and the chaiman of the local branches;
    • your MP, state assembly member, and town councillor
    • Demand that they change all laws that control the press. Demand that they give up ownership of the media. Don’t stop with just one letter. Keep complaining. Hold demonstrations outside or inside their ceramahs.
  14. Demand changes from government officials
    Conduct a sustained campaign of complaints to:

    • the secretary-general of the home ministry, head of the licensing and publications control unit, and heads of the film and advertising censorship boards;
    • chairman and directors of the Communications Commisison
    • the director-general of information, the director-general of broadcasting, the chairman, general manager and editorial director, and all editors of Bernama.
    • secretary-generals of all ministries and the heads of public relations in all ministries and government agencies for supplying “manufactured news and propaganda”
    • Keep complaining. Hold demonstrations at government offices, canteens and the nearest teh tarik stall where they are usually found.
  15. Support the National Union of Journalists and the Centre for Independent Journalism. Supply them examples of good journalism, mediocre journalism, and “manufactured news and propaganda” (which you read or saw before you dropped out of the media universe of course).
  16. Subscribe to independent media that do not produce “manufactured news and propaganda”. Make sure they are free of any “manufactured news and propaganda”, and are not owned or connected to those that produce or publish the aforesaid news and propaganda.
  17. Resign from your job if your organisation supports “manufactured news and propaganda” even indirectly, such as by advertising, providing press releases, making bulk purchases, or supplying goods or services of any kind, from newsprint to curry puffs.
  18. Boycott your own company or organisation if it obtains publicity in media companies, issues press releases (they contain “manufactured news and propaganda”) or asks journalists to use them, or if your company is a supplier or customer of a media company.
  19. Don’t complain if you are affected when journalists expose things that you or your organisation have done, resulting in you or anyone you know being taken to court, ending up in jail, losing their job, or losing their homes.
  20. Produce your own news. Write your own news reports, and shoot your own news videos. Talk to your friends, workers, and colleagues. Find out the truth about your family members, your friends and colleagues, and other workers in your company or organisation, your neighbourhood, or your town. Help your friends to do the same. Then expose your family, your friends, colleagues, bosses, and neighbours. Abide by real journalism principles and ethics. Write your reports and shoot your videos, and distribute them yourself, handing them out in person on street corners, or wherever the public gathers, or at the mamak stall, by email or online. Be prepared to go to jail, under any one of 40 different laws, and ready to pay heavy sums in legal fees and libel damages. Show all those useless journalists how it should be done, the right and proper way. Go on, you know you can.

That’ll teach all those journalists who made a mess of “this fair land”, as a commenter described the country. You’ll get the media you deserve. Don’t you think so?

By an unremembered, over-the-hill and discarded journalist of little distinction whose days are long over.


13 thoughts on “20 things you can do for a new free press

  1. You admit to being “….. an unremembered, over-the-hill and discarded journalist of little distinction whose days are long over.”

    And if you keep writing rubbish like this, you will be best remembered, if ever at all, as yet another one of those in the ranks of Malaysia’s journalists of “little distinction,” and best not just unremembered, but dead, quite frankly.

    If you must write something, and expect us to read it, please write sense, not non-sense.

  2. Thank you for the compliment. Like all trolls, you have nothing to say except make blanket condemnation. It appears you may be an MIC dog or an anjing Mahathir who are required to read. So pleasant, they are. I’m surprised you can read. Since it appears you are required to read things, here’s a few other things to read though I doubt you will.

    Rotten journalism from a rotten society
    How about prostitution, for Hew’s sake
    Political hacks knife media pariahs and prostitutes
    How to lie and not be called a prostitute
    End KDN’s death-grip on the press says Soi Lek
    Walloping the NST, Star and all journos

    There’s a lot more. But trolls like you are not likely to be interested.

  3. This is a bit simplistic. If one does not follow what is being reported or hides one’s head in the sand, how does one determine what is ‘manufactured’ and what is not ? The objective is to get at the truth and truth is not subjective.

    There was a time when we were all at the mercy of these manufacturers of news. There were limited sources of alternative news and the msm were all owned by vested interests.
    But it is all changed now. The Internet has brought new opportunities and new challenges. If once dearth of news was the problem, now it is the sheer avalanche that threatening to swamp us all.

    I guess if the situation gets serious enough we would discover the creativity to find solutions. Humanity has always worked that way.

    To the author of the article above, I guess as usual you did not put too much thought into your article of misplaced unbrage.

    • Point taken.

      But why do you contend the conditionalities that you outlined in your said piece would garner the respect you seek ?

      The function of the ‘Fourth Estate’ is in the all important provision of the requisite checks and balances that would have prevented the degeneration and degradation of the functionaties of good governance, we are faced with, right this moment in time.

      In other words, you guys fell down on the job this half century, and we are screwed.

    • All your comments have been tangential to the posting, and just another exercise in preaching. Do you have anything at all to say about achieving a free press, today, under the real-life political, social and economic conditions that we face, every day?

  4. Don’t get overly wound up, my friend. The day will dawn when humans outgrow the need for “news.” As passive consumers of reported reality, we shall forever remain at the mercy of other people’s perceptions. However, a simple 90-degree shift can align us with Source – or our own Atman. Anyone who achieves that becomes free of disinformation. The process won’t take a few thousand or even a few hundred years. Change occurs in a single heartbeat! 🙂

  5. The owner of this blog does not take kindly to criticisms or even contrarian views. He will charge at you with a vengeance and smother you with ‘I am better than you’ blows.

    He displays journalistic megalomania.

    • Dear Sam: If anyone has anything relevant to say about any posting, they are more than welcome to say so, as you and others have done before. If people want to let off steam and criticise, they are free to do so. But don’t bullshit and don’t try to preach to us. The fact is that most Malaysians do f* all about supporting a free press. People who say so-and-so is a “prostitute” and that kind of stuff, without facts, are bullshit artists, trying to put their cronies in that journalist’s place, or to take that editor’s job.

  6. Early signs of combat fatigue? Please don’t succumb to quiet despair, bro. You’re a decent soul trapped in indecent circumstances. Stay focused on the big picture! Remember, when one peers into a palantir programmed by evil, all one sees is the Eye of Sauron!,

    • Thanks. Was just trying to get the point across that a free press is part of a free society and something that all of society must help to accomplish, and not expect journalists alone to accomplish it.

  7. It is like any problem. If you do not know the cause then you do not have the tools to find a solution.

    But our predicament is not that we are clueless as to what is ailing the dissemination of news in the country. The free press is anything but free in this country. If vested interests like a government of a country owns newspapers, then it is a tool for propagation of misinformation and propaganda. It is a tool for abuse and to enslave. Even you ought to have no arguments against that.

    Since the cause is all too clear, the unambigous solution is there for the asking. Dis-investment in newspapers by all vested interests for the simple reason that it could and have been used to misrepresent , commit injustices and thwart the rule of law.

    Right now the fox is guarding the hen house. To chase the fox away is the solution. This is a task that in your present predicament, is way beyond you. The rahyat should retake their role of the final arbiter. Only then are all things possible.

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